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College Sports, Division I

NCAA Division I Secondary Case Review: Prohibited Extra Benefits

The Michael L. Buckner Law Firm continues its educational series on NCAA legislation through a review of selected cases involving secondary rules-violations. Today’s post reviews a secondary case involving a violation of NCAA Division I Bylaw 16.11.2.3 (extra-benefits). The bylaw provides:

Bylaw 16.11.2.3 Other Prohibited Benefits: An institutional employee or representative of the institution’s athletics interests may not provide a student-athlete with extra benefits or services, including, but not limited to: [R]

(a) A loan of money;

(b) A guarantee of bond;

(c) An automobile or the use of an automobile;

(d) Transportation (e.g., a ride home with a coach), except as permitted in Bylaw 16.9.1-(e), even if the student-athlete reimburses the institution or the staff member for the appropriate amount of the gas or expense; or

(e) Signing or cosigning a note with an outside agency to arrange a loan.

The bylaw was cited in Secondary Case Number 51534 (June 11, 2012) involving the institution’s men’s basketball program, which is summarized below:

Facts: In May 2011, a first-year, recruited men’s basketball student-athlete (SA1) and a member of SA1’s family received impermissible benefits from a former student-athlete and representative of the institution’s athletics interests (representative) in the amount of $410. Specifically, SA1’s half brother received a benefit when he moved to the locale of the institution in May of 2011, when, on May 15, 2011, the representative made an online payment in the amount of $260 for the application and administrative fees for SA1’s half brother’s new apartment complex. The violation was discovered by the NCAA through documentation obtained from the apartment complex, through a release signed by the half brother. SA1’s half brother met the representative at a basketball game in which SA1 was participating. SA1’s half brother and SA1 were not raised in the same household, and SA1 had no knowledge of any payment or benefit provided to his half brother. The second impermissible benefit was received directly by SA1. Specifically, SA1 was involved in a car accident in his family’s vehicle on May 25, 2011. SA1’s family car was totaled in the accident. Shortly after the accident, SA1 and the representative were texting each other when SA1 disclosed to the representative that his family’s car had recently been totaled in an accident. The representative offered the use of his car to SA1, and SA1 accepted. The representative was out of town at the time of the offer, and SA1 used the car for four to seven days. In addition, during July and August 2010, the representative of the institution’s athletics interests paid $320.12 toward the July rent for the apartment of former men’s basketball student-athlete (SA2) and paid $1029 toward the August rent for SA2’s apartment. Specifically, SA2 called the representative and indicated to the representative that he was going to be evicted from his apartment. The representative agreed to help SA2 with the rent for his apartment and believed he was helping a friend when he provided money to SA2 to help pay for his rent. The representative, a former student-athlete at the institution, was friends with many current student-athletes and often played video games with them. The representative believed he was helping his friends by providing the aforementioned assistance.

Institution Action: The institution disassociated the representative from the university’s athletic program. Additionally, the institution declared SA1 ineligible and is requiring SA1 to contribute to a charity in the value of the benefits received. The institution also paid a fine of $5000 for allowing SA2 to participate in 21 games after receiving the impermissible benefit. Finally, the institution will institute rules-education on the violated legislation.

Enforcement Action: No further action.

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About Justin P. Sievert, Esquire

Bar Admissions (North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee) Practice Area (College Sports Law)

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