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New NCAA Division II Interpretation: Effect of Invalidated Academic Credentials after Initial-Eligibility Certification

On September 21, 2012, the Interpretations Subcommittee of the NCAA Division II Legislation Committee issued an interpretation concerning the effect of invalidated academic credentials after initial-eligibility certification. Specifically, the committee confirmed that “if a student-athlete’s academic credentials (e.g., transcript, test scores) are invalidated, the institution must report any violation that may have occurred as a result of the student-athlete’s receipt of aid or participation in practice or competition and declare the student-athlete ineligible for competition.” Further, “if such a violation occurred, the student-athlete remains ineligible for intercollegiate competition unless eligibility is restored by the NCAA Division II Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement regardless of whether an initial-eligibility waiver is granted after the invalidation of the academic credentials.”

This interpretation referenced  NCAA Division II Bylaws 14.1.2 (validity of academic credentials), 14.3.1 (eligibility for financial aid, practice and competition), 14.3.2.1.1 (eligibility for financial aid, practice and competition), 14.11.1 (obligation of member institution to withhold student-athlete from competition), 14.11.2.1 (loss of eligibility) and 14.12.1 (basis for appeal); an official interpretation (12/18/86, Item No. 21), which has been archived; and staff interpretations (09/08/89, Item No. b) and (04/14/89, Item No. a).

In light of this interpretation, the Michael L. Buckner Law Firm recommends institutions’ athletics compliance include the interpretation in the next scheduled rules-education session for athletics staff members, coaches and staff members who interface with athletics aid and eligibility.

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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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