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College Sports, Division II

NCAA Division II Secondary Case Review: Transfer Student-Athletes and Recruiting

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 NCAA Division II Bylaw (four-year college prospective student-athletes). The bylaws provide:

Bylaw Four-Year Prospective Student-Athletes: An athletics staff member or other representative of the institution’s athletics interests shall not make contact with the student-athlete of an NCAA or NAIA four-year collegiate institution, directly or indirectly, without first obtaining the written permission of the first institution’s athletics director (or an athletics administrator designated by the athletics director) to do so, regardless of who makes the initial contact. If permission is not granted, the second institution shall not encourage the transfer and shall not provide athletically related financial assistance to the student-athlete until the student-athlete has attended the second institution for one academic year. If permission is granted to contact the student-athlete, all applicable NCAA recruiting rules apply.

The bylaw was cited in Secondary Case Number 51651 (April 13, 2012) involving a men’s soccer coach, which is summarized below:

Facts: On January 4, 2012, the head men’s soccer coach (HC) communicated with a prospective transfer student-athlete (PSA) prior to obtaining written permission from the PSA’s current institution. Specifically, PSA contacted HC while PSA was home for winter break. PSA told HC that he played four years of soccer at his current institution and would graduate in the spring of 2012; therefore, after the call, HC did not think a release from PSA’s current institution was necessary because PSA had no remaining eligibility. Upon meeting, PSA told HC that his current institution was in the process of filing a medical hardship waiver and, if approved, PSA would like to participate in men’s soccer at the institution while in graduate school. Still, HC did not think a release was necessary because at the time of contact PSA did not have eligibility remaining. The violation was discovered when HC introduced PSA to the assistant athletics director for compliance and explained PSA’s situation. A release from PSA’s current institution was requested and subsequently received on January 24, 2012.

Additional Facts: None.

Institution Action: In this case, unusual circumstances resulted in a recruiting violation although HC was aware of the legislation, and thought he was following it. The institution will not self-impose any penalties against HC due to the unusual circumstances and the fact that HC was acting in good faith. The institution staff will have a follow-up rules education session if a similar situation should arise to avoid another violation in this manner.

Enforcement Action: The institution should be required to issue HC a letter of admonishment. In addition, the PSA is ineligible for intercollegiate competition until his eligibility is restored by the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff.


About Justin P. Sievert, Esquire

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


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