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College Sports, Division III

NCAA Division III: Athletics Events Involving Prospective Student-Athletes

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 the tryout legislation in NCAA Bylaw 13.11. The proposal reaffirms the principle that “it is impermissible for institutions to conduct tryouts in which prospective student-athletes (PSA) demonstrate their athletics abilities at a coach’s direction.” The proposal goes on to confirm that “involvement in any manner in tryout events, as well as varsity competition against high school or
preparatory school teams remain impermissible.” The new rules now, however, deregulate other physically related activities involving PSAs by designating them permissible, unless they are specifically prohibited by NCAA legislation. This deregulation will assist NCAA Division III member institutions in determining what events involving PSAs are permissible on their campuses.

The following highlights some of the major points Division III institutions should take from this column:

  1. When determining if an event is permissible on campus, institutions must look at the activities constituting the event. One of the key things to analyze is whether the event could be considered a “tryout” type event. A “tryout” type event will have events devoted to testing PSAs in terms of various athletic attributes such as agility, flexibility, strength and speed.  Member institutions cannot host events that involve this type of testing, even if the testing is mixed with competition based activities.
  2. Athletics staff from institutions other than the host or sponsor institution are permitted to attend athletics events involving prospective student-athletes provided the event is not considered a “tryout event.”
  3. PSAs may serve as a demonstrator during a coaches’ clinic or coaching session conducted by an institutional staff member without such participation constituting an impermissible tryout.
  4. Athletic department staff members are prohibited from engaging in recruiting activities during tournaments, camps or clinics but nonathletics staff members may present general institutional information to camp participants. Athletic department staff members may, however, provide general information about athletics recruitment to PSAs such as increasing their exposure to collegiate institutions, exploring different collegiate options and introducing the rules and regulations of the NCAA or other athletics organizations without such information being considered a recruiting contact.

About Justin P. Sievert, Esquire

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


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