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College Sports, Division I

New NCAA Division I Interpretation: Payment of Expenses During a Self-Financed Tryout — Men’s Ice Hockey and Skiing

On September 12, 2011, the academic and membership affairs staff issued an interpretation concerning the payment of expenses during a self-tryout in the sports of men’s ice hockey and skiing. The staff confirmed that “in men’s ice hockey and skiing, if a prospective student-athlete participates in a self-financed tryout with a professional sports organization, the prospect must pay for all expenses at the time the expenses are incurred (e.g., pay for meals at the time they are eaten) or make normal arrangements (e.g., use of a credit card) for payment of all expenses incurred at the site of the tryout, regardless of whether the site is owned or operated by a professional sports organization.” Specifically, it is not permissible for a professional athletics team or organization to “incur the cost of a tryout (in excess of 48 hours) for a prospect and subsequently be reimbursed by the prospect or the prospect’s parents.” The interpretation references NCAA Division I Bylaws 12.2.1.1 (tryout before enrollment — men’s ice hockey and skiing), 12.2.1.3 (tryout after enrollment — men’s ice hockey and skiing) and a staff interpretation (07/18/97, Item No. 1-b), which has been archived]

In light of this interpretation, the Michael L. Buckner Law Firm recommends institutions’ athletics compliance: a) review policies and procedures regarding professional tryouts in the sports of men’s ice hockey and skiing; b) include the interpretation in the next scheduled rules-education session for the athletics staff; c) monitor and keep accurate records of professional tryouts in the sports of men’s ice hockey and skiing; and d) implement this interpretation as part of your institution’s high-profile student-athlete due diligence program.

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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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