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College Sports, Division I, Education

NCAA Secondary Case Review: Prohibited Financial Aid

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 13.2.1.1

Specifically prohibited financial aid, benefits and arrangements include, but are not limited to, the following:

(a) An employment arrangement for a prospective student-athlete’s relatives;

(b) Gift of clothing or equipment;

(c) Cosigning of loans;

(d) Providing loans to a prospective student-athlete’s relatives or friends;

(e) Cash or like items;

(f) Any tangible items, including merchandise;

(g) Free or reduced-cost services, rentals or purchases of any type;

(h) Free or reduced-cost housing;

(i) Use of an institution’s athletics equipment (e.g., for a high school all-star game);

(j) Sponsorship of or arrangement for an awards banquet for high school, preparatory school or two-year-college athletes by an institution, representatives of its athletics interests or its alumni groups or booster clubs; and

(k) Expenses for academic services (e.g., tutoring, test preparation) to assist in the completion of initial-eligibility or transfer-eligibility requirements or improvement of the prospective student-athlete’s academic profile in conjunction with a waiver request

Facts: During March 2010, the prospective student-athlete (PSA) obtained an institutionally-issued shirt, valued at $25 and not available for purchase by the general public.  Specifically, the PSA took an institutionally-issued Nike Dri-Fit shirt from the residence of another student-athlete during the PSA’s official visit to the institution.  The PSA did not return the shirt prior to departing campus, and subsequently wore the shirt on the date the PSA signed a National Letter of Intent with the institution.  The violation was discovered after the director of athletics and the assistant athletics director for compliance were shown a photograph of the PSA wearing the shirt during a National Letter of Intent signing ceremony at his two-year institution.  During subsequent interviews conducted by the institution, the PSA provided false and misleading information as to how he obtained the shirt.

Additional Facts: None.

Institution Action: Institution has declared the PSA ineligible and was required to make restitution. The institution is not seeking reinstatement of the involved PSA.

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

Eligibility Action: STAFF: WITHDRAWN

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 Justin P. Sievert, Esquire

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

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