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College Sports, Division III

NCAA Division III: Institutional Sponsorship of Sports Clubs and Administration of Sports Leagues

On June 17, 2011, the NCAA released an educational column discussing the implications the adoption of NCAA Division III Proposal No. 2010-3 has on NCAA Division III Bylaw 13.11 (sports clubs teams). The purpose of this proposal was to simplify the list of tryout exceptions by emphasizing that three types of tryout activities are impermissible. This would mean that there would be a “continued ban on traditional tryouts in which a prospective student-athlete demonstrated their athletics ability at a coach’s direction, “combine” events and varsity competition against high school or preparatory school teams.” Other physical related activities involving prospects that are not specifically prohibited shall be permissible. The following highlights some of the major points Division III institutions should take from this column:

Institutional Sponsored Sports Clubs Not Operated by the Athletic Department: It is permissible for an institutional department that operates independent of the athletics department (e.g., physical education department, recreation department) to sponsor a sports club that includes prospective student-athletes, as long as no athletics department staff members are involved with the club team.

Athletics Department Staff Member Involved with an Outside Sports Club Reserving Athletics Facility for Club Use: A staff member can be involved provided that the outside group is using the facility based on the institution’s normal policies and procedures for facility rental or use.

Institutional Athletics Coach Owns a Sports Club: A coach can own a sports club but must make clear that he or she is the owner of the club as an individual, and not in his or her capacity as the institution’s coach.

Institutional Athletics Coach Who Owns a Sports Club and Institutional Athletics Facility Rental for a Sports Club: A coach can rent an institutional athletics facility provided the rental is based on the institution’s normal rental policies and procedures or is in accordance with an employment benefit provided to all institutional employees. The coach must also make it clear to all club participants whom the club is not associated with the institution.

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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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