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College Sports, Division III

NCAA Division III Secondary Case Review: Length of Playing Season

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 III Bylaw 17.19.1. The rule provides:

17.19.1: Length of Playing Season

The length of an institution’s playing season in soccer shall be limited to a 132-day season, which may consist of two segments (each consisting of consecutive days) and which may exclude only required off days per Bylaw and official vacation, holiday and final-examination periods during which no practice or competition shall occur.

The bylaw was cited in Secondary Case Number 47472 (June 14, 2011), which involved the institution’s men’s soccer program. The case is summarized below:

Facts: In March 2011, two student-athletes participated in a competition beyond the declared playing season and in violation of conference rules.  Specifically, during a spring soccer tournament, the organizers were short a team and asked current seniors, who no longer had any eligibility remaining, to get some girls together to play.  Unfortunately, SA1 and SA2, who were sophomores and who had eligibility remaining, participated in the tournament.  The student-athletes were unaware that this was not permissible under conference rules.  The violation was discovered when the head women’s soccer coach went to watch the tournament and noticed SA1 and SA2 playing.  Upon noticing the violation, the head women’s soccer coach told SA1 and SA2 that they could not play the rest of the day, and contacted the compliance office.

Institution Action:  The head coach immediately addressed the 2 student-athletes and told them they were not to play the rest of the day and informed of the bylaw so they are now aware of it. These issues are discussed in meetings the institution’s administration has with each team before their season each year. Since the 2 involved SAs participated in 2 games they will sit out 4 of the nontraditional season practices.

Enforcement Action: No further action.


About Justin P. Sievert, Esquire

Bar Admissions (North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee) Practice Area (College Sports Law)


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