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College Sports, Division I, Education

NCAA Secondary Case Review: Dead Period (Recruiting)

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 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 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, 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)

The bylaw was cited in Secondary Case Number 48336 (decided on November 4, 2011 [Division: I Involved Sport: Football]), which is summarized below:

Facts: In February 2011, the assistant coach (AC) had in-person, off-campus contact with the PSA during the dead period on National Letter of Intent signing day. Specifically, on February 2, 2011, subsequent to the football coaching staff discussing whether the PSA would sign with the institution and during a visit to his usual barber shop, the AC had a conversation with his barber and learned that a mentor to inner city youths had a foundation office across the street from the barber shop. the AC knew that the PSA had a relationship with the mentor, and visited the foundation office later that day to speak with the mentor about the PSA’s signing intentions. While the AC was at the foundation office, the PSA entered the room. The AC and the PSAbriefly exchanged greetings. The AC knew it was impermissible to have contact with the PSA, but placed himself in a position where contact reasonably could be expected to occur. The PSA subsequently signed with a different institution.

Additional Facts: None.

Institution Action: Letter of admonishment issued to involved assistant coach. Rules education with involved coach on the subject of recruiting, contact issues, and reporting obligations. Involved assistant coach precluded from engaging in off-campus recruiting activites for one week. Institution required invovled assistant coach to pay a fine to the institution’s athletics department for failing to report the violation. Supplemental and additional penalties of 1) one game suspension of involved assistant coach from all coaching activities and 2) reduction from 42 to 38 evaluation days during the fall evaluation period for football.

Enforcement Action: No further action. However, please note that the PSA is ineligible for intercollegiate competition at the institution until his eligibility is restored by the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff.

Eligibility Action: STAFF: None.

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.


About Michael L. Buckner, Esquire

An attorney who provides clients with internal investigation, civil litigation, estate planning and compliance services.


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