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College Sports, Division II, Education

New NCAA Division II Interpretation: Coaches’ Observation of Student-Athletes Engaged in Team Activities During the Academic Year Outside the Playing Season

The NCAA Division II Legislation Committee issued an interpretation on August 8, 2011, concerning a coach’s observation of a student-athlete engaged in team activities during the academic year but outside of the playing season. The committee determined that “in sports other than football, a coach may observe student-athletes participating in nonorganized sport-specific activities outside of the declared playing season, provided the observation occurs within the permissible time period and permissible hour limitations for team activities.” Further, the committee stated “it is not permissible for a coach to observe student-athletes in nonorganized sport-specific activities outside of the declared playing season in excess of the permissible two hours of team activities or during the portion of the academic year when only weight training, conditioning and skill instruction are permitted.” The staff referenced NCAA Division II Bylaws 17.02.1 (countable athletically related activities) and 17.1.6.2 (weekly hour limitations — outside of playing season); staff interpretation 7/2/1993, Item No. a.

In light of this interpretation, the Michael L. Buckner Law Firm recommends institutions’ athletics compliance offices: a) review policies and procedures regarding a coach’s observation of their team both during and outside of the declared playing season; b) include the interpretation in the next scheduled rules-education session forir the athletics staff; and c) perform year-round spot-checks on team activities.

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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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