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College Sports, Division II, Education

NCAA Division II Secondary Case Review: Eligibility for Practice and Competition

The Michael L. Buckner Law Firm continues its educational series on NCAA Division II legislation through a review of selected cases involving secondary rules-violations. Today’s post reviews a secondary case involving a violation of NCAA Division II Bylaws 15.2.3. These rules provide:

NCAA Division II Bylaw 15.2.3: Written Statement Requirement (for financial aid awards)

In all cases, the institutional agency making the financial aid award shall give  the recipient a written statement of the amount, duration, conditions and terms  of the award. The chair of the regular committee or other agency for the awarding  of financial aid to students generally, or the chair’s official designee, shall  sign or electronically authorize (e.g., electronic signature) the written statement.  The signature of the athletics director, attesting to the committee’s award, does  not satisfy this requirement.

The bylaws were cited in Secondary Case Number 37535 (March 3, 2011), which involves Division II women’s golf. The case is summarized below:

Facts: During 2010 fall semester, institution failed to provide a women’s golf student-athlete (SA No. 1) and a women’s basketball student-athlete (SA No. 2) with a written statement of the amount, duration, conditions and terms of each SA’s athletics financial aid.  Institution is not seeking reinstatement for SA No. 2.  Specifically, both SA Nos. 1 and 2 received their athletics financial aid after institution completed its distribution of athletics aid agreements to institution’s SAs receiving athletics financial aid.  Institution created written statements for SA Nos. 1 and 2, however, statements were not distributed to SAs.  Institutional staff member responsible for distributing athletics aid agreements had recently retired and her duty was shifted to another administrative assistant who did not distribute agreements.  Violation was discovered in February by institution’s head women’s basketball coach when coach inquired about removing athletics financial aid from SA No. 2 for 2011 spring semester due to SA’s failure to follow team policy and her academic ineligibility.  SA No. 1’s athletics financial aid award was $1,000 each for 2010 fall and spring semesters.  SA No. 1 was the only member of institution’s women’s golf team to receive athletics financial aid.

Institution Action: Institution will review procedures for awarding, preparing and processing athletics scholarships with all coaches, athletics administrators and institution’s office of financial aid.  Institution reviewed all athletics financial aid awards for 2010-11 academic year to ensure that awards matched amounts stated in agreements and found that all agreements were in compliance with applicable NCAA legislation.

Enforcement Action: Secondary violation, no further action.

Eligibility Action: Eligibility reinstated for SA No. 1.  Also, SA No. 2 remains ineligible for competition until she is reinstated by the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff.

Rationale: Based on case precedent.

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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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