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NCAA Division III Secondary Case Review: Maximum Athletics Contests

The Michael L. Buckner Law Firm continues its educational series on NCAA Division III legislation through a review of selected cases involving secondary rules-violations. Today’s post reviews a secondary case involving a violation of NCAA Division III Bylaw 17.3.5.1.

NCAA Division III Bylaw 17.3.5.1: Maximum Limitations-Institution

A member institution shall limit its total playing schedule against outside competition in basketball in any one year to a maximum of 25 contests (games and scrimmages), except for those contests excluded under Bylaw 17.3.5.3. For in-season foreign competition, see Bylaw 17.1.4.3.

The bylaw was cited in Secondary Case Number 44371 (August 23, 2010), which involved the institution’s women’s basketball program. The case is summarized below:

Facts: During the 2009-10 season, the women’s basketball team exceeded the maximum of 25 contests against outside competition by one (26). Specifically, the women’s basketball team competed in an exhibition game. This exhibition game was played in November 2009 under a misinterpretation by the head coach and compliance department. In accordance with the bylaw, the contest should have been played between October 31, 2009, and November 15, 2009, to be exempt. The violation was discovered when the head coach inquired about having an exhibition game this coming season and the athletics director advised him when the game could take place. The head coach then inquired about the previous exhibition game and the violation was discovered.

Institution Action: The institution’s compliance office contacted the institution with whom the exhibition game was played to inform them of violation. The institution prescribed a 2:1 penalty by reducing its women’s basketball schedule by one contest for both the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons (only 24 games).  The institution elected to spread the penalty over 2 seasons due to high number of conference games (21 in 2010-11 and 22 in 2011-12) and low number of non-conference opportunities. Further, the institution reviewed compliance procedures for sport playing and practice seasons and required all staff to complete the NCAA Division III rules test.

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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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