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College Sports

New Division III Interpretation: Semi-Professional Teams

On July 11, 2012, the academic  and membership affairs staff issued an interpretation concerning the definition and scope of what is considered a semi-professional team. Specifically, the staff determined that “an organized team that declares itself a ‘semi-professional team’ is not considered a professional organization or team if the entity’s practices adhere to the requirements of the amateurism legislation (e.g., the entity provides individuals no more than actual and necessary expenses for participation or declares itself to be professional).”

This interpretation referenced  NCAA Division  III Bylaws 12.02.3 (professional athlete), 12.02.4 (professional athletics team), 12.1.3.1 (permissible activities — before initial, full-time collegiate enrollment), 12.1.3.2 (nonpermissible activities — before initial, full-time collegiate enrollment), 12.1.5.1 (permissible activities — after initial, full-time collegiate enrollment), and 12.1.5.2 (nonpermissible activities — after initial, full-time collegiate enrollment).

In light of this interpretation, the Michael L. Buckner Law Firm recommends institutions’ athletics compliance include the interpretation in the next scheduled rules-education session for student-athletes and athletics staff members.

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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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