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College Sports, Division I, Education

NCAA Secondary Case Review: Recruiting Contacts and Boosters

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

NCAA Bylaw 13.1.2.1-General Rule. 

All in-person, on- and off-campus recruiting contacts with a prospective student-athlete or the prospective student-athlete’s relatives or legal guardians shall be made only by authorized institutional staff members.  Such contact, as well as correspondence and telephone calls, by representatives of an institution’s athletics interests is prohibited except as otherwise permitted in this section.  Violations of this bylaw involving individuals other than a representative of an institution’s athletics interests shall be considered institutional violations per Constitution 2.8.1; however, such violations shall not affect the prospective student-athlete’s eligibility.  (Revised: 8/5/04)

NCAA Bylaw 13.01.4-Recruiting by Representatives of Athletics Interests. 

Representatives of an institution’s athletics interests (as defined in Bylaw 13.02.14) are prohibited from making in-person, on- or off-campus recruiting contacts, or written or telephonic communications with a prospective student-athlete or the prospective student-athlete’s relatives or legal guardians. Specific examples of exceptions to the application of this regulation are set forth in Bylaw 13.1.2.2 (see Bylaw 13.1.3.8.1.1).

The bylaws were cited in Secondary Case Number 48084 (decided on November 9, 2011 [Division: I Involved Sport: Football]), which is summarized below:

Facts: During 2011 spring semester, two representatives of institution’s athletics interests (boosters) had impermissible contact with football prospective student-athlete (PSA). Specifically, parent group organizes tailgates and other family activities throughout school year. They welcomed incoming parents of PSAs to institution and offered upcoming activities in which they could participate (all of which are open to the general public as well). Violation occurred because parent group was unaware incoming PSA was still considered a prospect until he enrolled at institution or began pre-season camp in August. Parent group was not aware they could not contact PSA’s parents via email. Violation discovered April 29, 2011, when another booster group asked to send a similar welcome letter to incoming parents of PSAs.

Additional Facts: None.

Institution Action: Rules education took place with parent group and they have been informed to cease communication until PSA arrives for preseason camp. In addition, assistant athletics director for compliance will present compliance education session at the next Friends of Football meeting October 2011.

Enforcement Action: No further action.

Eligibility Action: See AMA Online Case Nos. 41785, 46905, 47246, 47247, 47248, 47249, 47285, 47305, 47306, 47307, 47308, 47309, 47310, 47311, 47312, 47313, 47314, 47315, 47317, 47318, 47319, 47327, 47565.

Rationale: STAFF: None.

The Michael L. Buckner Law Firm recommends institutions: (a) review the secondary report summarized above; and (b) enhance any relevant aspects of the institution’s rules-compliance program to address the issues contained in the report.

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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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