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College Sports, Division I, Education

NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement Education Series: Dead Periods (Recruiting)

The NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff has issued decisions recently concerning high-profile student-athletes at several NCAA Division I institutions. The Michael L. Buckner Law Firm provided a multi-part series on the student-athlete reinstatement process. The series can be reviewed by using the following links: Part I; Part II; and Part III. Based on the reinstatement decisions involving high-profile student-athletes, the firm continues its recurring series to educate member institutions and the public on the student-athlete reinstatement process by looking into prior decisions and the rationale the staff used to evaluate each case.

Today’s post will review Student-Athlete Reinstatement Case No. 37712 (which was decided on April 14, 2011). The case involved the women’s basketball program at a Division I institution.

Facts: Institution’s assistant women’s basketball coach conducted an impermissible evaluation of prospective student-athlete (PSA) during a designated recruiting dead period. Specifically, assistant coach traveled off campus to watch a high school basketball team practice November 11, 2010. Assistant coach was specifically watching PSA. The evaluation took place on the last day of a recruiting dead period. Violation was discovered during the normal processing and review of departmental paperwork. Institution is only seeking reinstatement of PSA.

Institution Action: Institution issued a letter of admonishment to assistant women’s basketball coach. Institution will count the impermissible evaluation toward the allowable limit for all members of the high school team and will decrease its maximum 2010-11 evaluations of PSA by two (from five to three). In addition, institution will count the impermissible evaluation as two recruiting “person days,” and will decrease by two the maximum allowable recruiting-person days for 2010-11 (from 100 to 98).

Enforcement Action: Secondary violation; no further action.

Eligibility Action: STAFF: Eligibility reinstated.

Rationale: STAFF: Based on case precedent.

The reinstatement decision relied on an analysis of the following NCAA bylaw:

NCAA Bylaw 13.02.5.4 – Dead Period.
A dead period is a period of time when it is not permissible to make in-person recruiting contacts or evaluations on or off the institution’s campus or to permit official or unofficial visits by prospective student-athletes to the institution’s campus.  The provision of complimentary admissions to a prospective student-athlete during a dead period is prohibited, except as provided in Bylaw 13.7.2.5 for a prospective student-athlete who visits an institution as part of a group.  During a dead period, a coaching staff member may not serve as a speaker at or attend a meeting or banquet at which prospective student-athletes are in attendance, except as provided in Bylaw 13.1.8.1, and may not visit a prospective student-athlete’s educational institution.  It remains permissible, however, for an institutional staff member to write or telephone a prospective student-athlete during a dead period.  (Revised:  1/11/94)

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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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