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College Sports, Division I, Education

NCAA Investigation of the University of Miami: Rules Concerning Enforcement Interviews, Part I

The NCAA enforcement staff is conducting an investigation of the University of Miami (UM) athletics program. Specifically, the NCAA staff is collecting information pertaining to alleged NCAA rules-violations involving UM booster Nevin Shapiro and the UM athletics program. Shapiro contends he provided illicit benefits (including money, cars, yacht trips, jewelry, televisions and other gifts) to over 70 UM student-athletes. The NCAA staff will use several investigative techniques to obtain relevant information, including witness interviews and document collection. This post is the first of a two-part series on NCAA rules concerning interviews conducted by the enforcement staff during an investigation.

First, NCAA Bylaw 32.3.4 (Interviews with Member Institution) mandates “the athletics director or other appropriate official of an institution shall be contacted by the enforcement staff in order to schedule interviews on the institution’s campus with enrolled student-athletes, coaching staff members or other institutional staff members with athletically related responsibilities or oversight who are involved in possible violations at the institution.”

Second, pursuant to NCAA Bylaw 32.3.4.1 (Presence of Institutional Representative During Interview), a representative of a member institution can be present during an enrolled student-athlete or athletics employee’s interview. In particular, the rule states “if an interview with an enrolled student-athlete or athletics department staff member is conducted on the campus of an institution, an institutional representative(s) (as designated by the institution) will be permitted to be present during the interview, provided the subject matter to be discussed in the interview relates directly to the individual’s institution or could affect the individual’s eligibility or employment at the institution. If the investigator wishes to discuss information with a student-athlete or staff member that is related solely to institutions other than the one in which the student-athlete is enrolled or staff member is employed and would not reasonably affect the student’s eligibility or the staff member’s employment, the institutional representative shall not be present during that portion of the interview. In such a situation (after the institutional representative has departed), any information inadvertently reported by the student-athlete or the staff member that is related to his or her own institution shall not be used against the student-athlete, staff member or that institution.”

Third, NCAA staff cannot interfere with a student-athlete’s academic schedule to conduct an interview. In fact, Bylaw 32.3.4.2 (Conflict with Academic Schedule) notes “if possible, interviews should be conducted without disrupting the normally scheduled academic activities of the student-athlete.”

Tomorrow’s post will review other rules governing the NCAA enforcement staff’s conduct of interviews.

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About Michael L. Buckner, Esquire

An attorney who provides clients with internal investigation, civil litigation, estate planning and compliance services.

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