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College Sports, Division I, Education

NCAA Secondary Case: Obligation of Member Institution to Withhold Student-Athlete from Competition.

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 14.11.1-Obligation of Member Institution to Withhold Student-Athlete from Competition.          

If a student-athlete is ineligible under the provisions of the constitution, bylaws or other regulations of the Association, the institution shall be obligated to apply immediately the applicable rule and to withhold the student-athlete from all intercollegiate competition. The institution may appeal to the Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement for restoration of the student-athlete’s eligibility as provided in Bylaw 14.12 if it concludes that the circumstances warrant restoration.

The bylaw was cited in Secondary Case Number 48379 (decided on October, 2011 [Division: I Involved Sport: Football]), which is summarized below:

Facts: During the 2010-11 season and the first two contests of the 2011-12 season, the institution permitted the football student-athlete (SA) to travel and compete while ineligible and prior to being reinstated for testing positive for a banned substance in February 2009.  Specifically, the SA tested positive for a banned substance in February 2009, and he was declared ineligible for the 2009-10 academic year and charged with the loss of a season of competition.  The institution mistakenly permitted the SA to compete during the 2010-11 season and the first two contests of the 2011-12 season prior to having the SA’s eligibility reinstated by the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff and prior to having the SA complete a mandatory exit drug test.  The institution was not aware that the SA needed to pass the exit drug test and be reinstated prior to allowing him to compete.  In addition, the SA did pass a drug test prior to competing during the 2010-11 season.  When the institution discovered the violation, the SA subsequently took and passed the mandatory exit drug test.

Additional Facts: None.

Institution Action: Institution will conduct an educational meeting with all staff members involved (medical and athletic) for future reference.

Enforcement Action: The institution should be required to pay a fine in the amount of $5,000 ($500 for each contest in which the SA competed while ineligible, up to a maximum amount of $5,000).  The check should be made payable to the NCAA and forwarded to this office.  The money will be used to fund student-athlete welfare programs.

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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