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College Sports, Division I

NCAA Division I Educational Column: NCAA Bylaw 12.2.4 – Declaration for a Professional League’s Draft

On April 4, 2012, the NCAA released an educational column discussing the rules and regulations associated with a current student-athlete declaring for a professional league’s draft. Specifically, the column noted, “an individual may request information from a professional sports organization about eligibility for a professional-league player draft, or request information about the individual’s market value, without affecting his or her amateur status.”

However, as the educational column discussed, there are situations where an individual could lose his or her amateur status. The following list, encompasses a brief look at situations the educational column noted where a student-athlete could lose eligibility for intercollegiate competition in a particular sport after full-time enrollment.

  • The student-athlete, after full-time enrollment, asks to be placed on the draft list or supplemental draft list of a professional league in that sport. [Note: This provision still applies even if the student-athlete asks for his or her name to be withdrawn or the student-athlete is not drafted. Further, this provision does not apply to student-athletes who have never enrolled as full-time students at a collegiate institution.]
  • In men’s basketball, an enrolled student-athlete may enter a professional league’s draft one time during his collegiate career without jeopardizing eligibility, provided the student-athlete is not drafted by any team in that league and declares his intention to return to college not later than the end of the day before the first day of the spring NLI signing period for the applicable year. [Note: The student-athlete’s declaration of intent shall be in writing to the institution’s director of athletics.]
  • In women’s basketball, an enrolled student-athlete may enter a professional league’s draft one time during her collegiate career without jeopardizing eligibility in that sport, provided the student-athlete is not drafted by any team in that league and declares her intention to resume intercollegiate participation within 30 days after the draft. [Note: The student-athlete’s declaration of intent shall be in writing to the institution’s director of athletics.]
  • In football, an enrolled student-athlete to enter the NFL draft one time during his collegiate career without jeopardizing eligibility in that sport, provided the student-athlete is not drafted by any team in that league and declares his intention to resume intercollegiate participation within 72 hours following the NFL draft declaration date. [Note: The student-athlete’s declaration of intent shall be in writing to the institution’s director of athletics.]

One additional consideration institutions should remember is that any prospective or enrolled student-athlete who retains (verbal or written) an agent will lose his or her eligibility regardless of the above legislation.

This educational column referenced NCAA Division I Bylaws 12.1.2 (amateur status), 12.2.1.3 (tryout after enrollment), 12.2.1.3 (tryout after enrollment), 12.2.4.1 (draft inquiry), 12.2.4.2 (draft list), 12.2.4.2.1 (exception — basketball — four-year collegiate student-athlete), 12.2.4.2.1.1 (men’s basketball), 12.2.4.2.1.2 (women’s basketball), 12.2.4.2.3 (exception — football), 12.3.1 (use of agents — general rule) and 12.3.1.2 (benefits from prospective agents).

In light of this interpretation, the Michael L. Buckner Law Firm recommends institutions’ athletics compliance: a) include this educational column in the next scheduled rules-education session for the athletics staff, coaches and student-athletes; b) revise current policies and procedures regarding amateurism; and c) ensure agent registration systems and professional sports counseling panels are being properly administered.

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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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