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College Sports, Division I

NCAA Enforcement Review: Eastern Michigan University

On November 8, 2012, the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions found Eastern Michigan University failed to monitor its women’s basketball program. The Committee also found the former head women’s basketball coach did not promote an atmosphere for compliance. The case centered on women’s basketball student-athletes exceeding practice hour limitations and violations of NCAA legislation relating to tryouts.

Specifically, the former head coach: (1) did not follow daily and weekly practice hour limitations and failed to provide student-athletes at least one day off per week; (2) required student-athletes to participate in weight training, conditioning and basketball activities where the former head coach observed and provided instruction during summer vacation; (3) required student-athletes to participate in skill instruction, conditioning and various basketball activities with a nonscholastic assistant coach; (4) arranged impermissible tryout activities for prospective student-athletes on campus; and (5) required student-athletes to participate in preseason and postseason countable athletically related activities that exceeded eight hours per week.

The institutional penalties in this case included: (1) public reprimand and censure; (2) two years of probation from October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2014; (3) two-year show-cause order for the former head coach; limitation to seven women’s basketball official visits during the 2012-13 academic year; during the time outside of the 2012-13 playing season, women’s basketball team is limited to a maximum of four hours per week of countable athletically related activities; and during the playing season, the women’s basketball team cannot exceed three hours per day (down from the allowable four hours per day) and 18 hours per week (down from the allowable 20 hours per week) of countable practice time.

Takeaway: NCAA member institutions must require coaches to maintain detailed practice schedules. Athletics compliance offices should perform random spot checks of these activities. Additionally, all teams should be required to submit CARA forms each week that are signed off on by student-athletes to ensure accuracy. Further, institutions must create policies and procedures that ensure that study time is allocated to student-athletes during away contests and that student-athletes meet with academic support staff on a regular basis.

The full report can be found here.

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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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