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College Sports, Division I, Education

NCAA Legislation Review: Bylaw (Four-Year College Prospective Student-Athletes)

The Michael L. Buckner Law Firm continues its rules-education series with a review of NCAA legislation. Today’s post concerns NCAA Bylaw (Four-Year College Prospective Student-Athletes), which provides:

An athletics staff member or other representative of the institution’s athletics interests shall not make contact with the student-athlete of another 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 the institution 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.  If an institution receives a written request from a student-athlete to permit another institution to contact the student-athlete about transferring, the institution shall grant or deny the request within seven business days (see Bylaw 13.02.1) of receipt of the request.  If the institution fails to respond to the student-athlete’s written request within seven business days, permission shall be granted by default and the institution shall provide written permission to the student-athlete.  (Revised: 1/10/91, 1/16/93, 1/11/94, 4/26/01, 4/29/04 effective 8/1/04, 4/29/10 effective 8/1/10)

The bylaw has been applied in numerous enforcement (major and secondary), student-athlete reinstatement and legislative relief cases. A recent reinstatement case involving the bylaw occurred on January 7, 2011 (Reinstatement Case Number 37305) involving a Division I men’s basketball team:

Facts: During 2010 fall semester, assistant men’s basketball coach had impermissible contact with two prospective student-athletes (PSAs) from another four-year institution prior to receiving written permission to contact from the PSAs’ institution. Specifically, PSA No. 1 and PSA No. 2 are twin brothers who were enrolled at the same institution during fall 2010. PSA No. 1 sent an e-mail to three members of the men’s basketball coaching staff November 20, 2010, inquiring about the possibility of transferring to institution. PSA No. 2 sent a similar e-mail to the entire men’s basketball coaching staff November 22, 2010. Assistant coach sent a responsive e-mail to both PSAs November 23, 2010, without following institution’s policy regarding obtaining permission to contact. Permission to contact was subsequently granted by PSAs’ prior institution December 3, 2010.

Additional Facts: — Institution Action: Institution issued a letter of admonishment to assistant coach. Applicable legislation will be reviewed with assistant coach and with entire coaching staff at next monthly compliance meeting.

Enforcement Action: Secondary violation; no further action.

Eligibility Action: STAFF: Eligibility reinstated.

Rationale: STAFF: Based on case precedent.

The Michael L. Buckner Law Firm recommends NCAA member institutions: (a) review Bylaw at an upcoming rules-education workshop or in rules-education materials; (b) develop a process and procedure to implement the legislation; and (c) conduct adequate follow-up if the institution obtains allegations of improper recruting contact of a four-year college prospective student-athlete.


About Michael L. Buckner, Esquire

An attorney who provides clients with internal investigation, civil litigation, estate planning and compliance services.


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