The Michael L. Buckner Law Firm continues its rules-education series with a review of NCAA legislative relief cases. Under NCAA procedure, “in cases when no other waiver process already has authority, institutions, conferences and committees may seek relief from applying a rule when extraordinary or extenuating circumstances warrant”. Specifically, “a member school, conference or committee submits a waiver application to the NCAA national office. Staff members on the legislative relief waiver team work collaboratively with the school, conference or committee to develop a complete picture of the situation and then render an initial decision.” NCAA procedures permit the entity seeking relief to accept the decision or appeal it (Division I applicants appeal through the Division I Legislative Council Subcommittee for Legislative Relief, Division II applicants appeal through the Division II Committee for Legislative Relief, and Division III applicants appeal through the Division III Management Council Subcommittee for Legislative Relief). The appellate “bodies review the written appeal and provide final decisions, which include granting or denying the request for flexibility, or granting a conditional waiver”.
Today’s post concerns NCAA Bylaws 13.6.6 (Accommodations on Official Visit) and 22.214.171.124 (General Restrictions). Bylaw 13.6.6 provides:
A prospective student-athlete on an official visit shall be provided lodging and take meals as regular students normally do. Local commercial facilities may be used but at a scale comparable to that of normal student life and only within a 30-mile radius of the institution’s campus. Lodging may not include special accessories (e.g., jacuzzis, suites) that are not available generally to all guests residing at the establishment. (See Bylaw 126.96.36.199 for restrictions on meals provided to prospective student-athletes on official visits.) (Revised: 8/5/04)
Bylaw 188.8.131.52 states:
An institution may provide entertainment, which may not be excessive, on the official visit only for a prospective student-athlete and the prospective student-athlete’s parents (or legal guardians) or spouse and only within a 30-mile radius of the institution’s main campus. Entertainment and contact by representatives of the institution’s athletics interests during the official visit are prohibited. It is not permissible to entertain other relatives or friends (including dates) of a prospective student-athlete at any time at any site. [R] (Revised: 10/28/97, 11/1/00)
An NCAA member institution requested relief from this bylaw in Case No. 13598, which was decided on September 27, 2010. The case involved the sport of men’s basketball. The case is summarized below:
Facts: September 26-28, 2010: Prospective student-athlete (PSA) is scheduled for an official visit to applicant institution. PSA and his parents reside in Croatia and will not accompany PSA on any visits. Applicant institution would like to provide meals, entertainment and lodging to PSA’s sister who will accompany him on the visit; however, NCAA legislation prohibits an institution from providing meals and accommodation expenses to individuals other than PSA’s parent(s) and/or legal guardian(s).
Request of Institution: Waive the normal application of the official visit legislation to permit institution to provide meals, entertainment and lodging expenses to PSA’s sister. Applicant institution asserts: (1) PSA’s parents reside in Croatia and will not accompany him on his official visits; and (2) PSA’s sister speaks English well and PSA would like her to serve as his translator on the visit.
Rationale: STAFF GRANTED: Based on case precedent, PSA’s status as an international PSA and PSA well-being. Specifically, the staff noted: (1) PSA’s parents are unable to attend the official visit; (2) PSA is requesting that his sister travel with him on the visit; (3) PSA’s sister will serve as his interpreter for the visit; and (4) PSA’s sister will accompany him on any future visits that may arise.
Action Taken: Staff Granted