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College Sports, Division III

NCAA Division III Secondary Case Review: Use of Logos on Equipment, Uniforms and Apparel

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 12.5.3.

NCAA Division III Bylaw 12.5.3: Use of Logos on Equipment, Uniforms and Apparel

A student-athlete may use athletics equipment or wear athletics apparel that bears the trademark or logo of an athletics equipment or apparel manufacturer or distributor in athletics competition and pre- and postgame activities (e.g., celebrations on the court, pre- or postgame press conferences), provided the following criteria are met.  De Minimis Violations of articles designated as “de minimis” shall be considered institutional violations per Constitution 2.8.1; however, the involved prospective student-athlete’s or student-athlete’s eligibility shall not be affected.

(a) Athletics equipment (e.g., shoes, helmets, baseball bats and gloves, batting or golf gloves, hockey and lacrosse sticks, goggles and skis) shall bear only the manufacturer’s normal label or trademark, as it is used on all such items for sale to the general public, and

(b) The student-athlete’s institution’s official uniform (including numbered racing bibs and warm-ups) and all other items of apparel (e.g., socks, head bands, T-shirts, wrist bands, visors or hats, swim caps and towels) shall bear only a single manufacturer’s or distributor’s normal label or trademark (regardless of the visibility of the label or trademark), not to exceed 2 1/4 square inches in area (i.e., rectangle, square, parallelogram) including any additional material (e.g., patch) surrounding the normal trademark or logo.

The bylaw was cited in Secondary Case Number 42214 (January 10, 2010), which involved the institution’s men’s soccer program. The case is summarized below:

Facts: On multiple occasions during the 2009 fall semester, the men’s soccer team wore a uniform with a logo that exceeded the 2 inch maximum. Specifically, on twelve occasions during the 2009 season, the men’s soccer team wore a uniform with an impermissible Adidas logo on the shoulder and the shorts. The head coach and the equipment room manager were aware that the uniforms were noncompliant at the time they were purchased.

Institution Action: The institution believes they were non-compliant with the provisions set forth in bylaw 12.5.3. After being told of this infraction during the NCAA Division III men’s soccer tournament, they altered the uniforms as instructed by the NCAA and were compliant for the rest of the tournament. They will be purchasing new uniforms this summer for the 2010 season.

Enforcement Action: The institution should be required to pay a fine in the amount of $500.

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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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