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College Sports, Division I

NCAA Division I Rules Working Group Recommends Changes

The NCAA Division I Rules Working Group has recommended the NCAA Division I Board of Directors adopt 26 proposals. The Board of Directors will review and vote on the proposals at the 2013 NCAA Convention on January 19th. The purpose of this effort was to deregulate NCAA Division I legislation by refocusing the rules-making process on a group of commitments that would speak to the values and principles of the membership. NCAA President Mark Emmert stated the effort was geared at “refocusing on the things that really matter, the threats to integrity, and the biggest issues facing intercollegiate athletics.” Specifically, the NCAA Manual should consist of legislation that is meaningful, enforceable and supportive of the student-athlete experience.

One of the potential issues of deregulation has been ensuring the rulebook does not return to its current format. In an effort to remedy this problem, the Rules Working Group has  is currently developing a system that will require proposed legislation to pass a three-part test of being meaningful, enforceable and supportive of student-athlete success.

The proposals up for adoption by the Division I Board of Directors are as follows:

  • 2-1, which establishes the commitments that guide the underlying operating bylaws. This includes a commitment to fair competition, which “acknowledges that variability will exist among members in advantages, including facilities, geographic location and resources and that such variability should not be justification for future legislation.”
  • 11-2, which would eliminate the rules defining recruiting coordination functions that must be performed only by a head or assistant coach.
  • 11-3-B, which would prohibit the live scouting of future opponents except in limited circumstances.
  • 11-4, which would remove limits on the number of coaches who can recruit off-campus at any one time, the so-called “baton rule.”
  • 12-1, which would establish a uniform definition of actual and necessary expenses.
  • 12-2, which would allow the calculation of actual and necessary expenses to be based on the total over a calendar year instead of an event-by-event basis. The working group recommended the calculation change for both prospective and enrolled student-athletes.
  • 12-3, which would allow a student-athlete to receive $300 more than actual and necessary expenses, provided the expenses come from an otherwise permissible source.
  • 12-4, which would permit individuals to receive actual and necessary competition-related expenses from outside sponsors, so long as the person is not an agent, booster, or representative of a professional sports organization.
  • 12-5, which would allow student-athletes in sports other than tennis to receive up to actual and necessary competition-related expenses based on performance from an amateur team or event sponsor.
  • 12-6, which would allow student-athletes and prospects to receive actual and necessary expenses for training, coaching, health insurance, etc. from a governmental entity.
  • 13-1, which will allow schools to treat prospects like student-athletes for purposes of applying recruiting regulations once a National Letter of Intent or signed offer of admission or financial aid is received.
  • 13-2, which will allow off-campus contact with recruits beginning the first day of junior year in high school and communication with recruits on or after July 1 after the completion of the recruit’s sophomore year in high school.
  • 13-3, which would eliminate restrictions on methods and modes of communication
  • 13-4, which would eliminate the requirement that institutions provide materials such as the banned-drug list and Academic Progress Rate data to recruits.
  • 13-5-A, which would eliminate restrictions on sending printed recruiting materials to recruits.
  • 13-7, which would eliminate restrictions on publicity once a prospective student-athlete has signed a National Letter of Intent or written offer of financial aid or admission.
  • 13-8, which would deregulate camps and clinics employment rules related to both recruits and current student-athletes. Senior football prospects would be allowed to participate in camps and clinics.
  • 14-1, which eliminates academic regulations that are covered elsewhere and directly supported by institutional academic policy.
  • 16-1, which would allow institutions, conferences or the NCAA national office to provide an award to student-athletes any time after initial full-time enrollment.
  • 16-2, which would allow conferences, an institution, the US Olympic Committee, a national governing body or the awarding agency to provide actual and necessary expenses for a student-athlete to receive a non-institutional award or recognition for athletics or academic accomplishments. Expenses could also be provided for parents/legal guardians, a spouse or other relatives as well.
  • 16-3, which would allow institutions, conferences or the NCAA to pay for other academic support, career counseling or personal development services that support the success of the student-athlete.
  • 16-4, which would allow institutions, conferences or the NCAA to pay for medical and related expenses for a student-athlete.
  • 16-5, which, except for Bylaw 16.6.1.1, would change all Bylaw 16 references to a student-athlete’s spouse, parents, family members or children to “family member,” establish a specific definition of “family member,” and permit specified benefits to such individuals
  • 16-6, which would allow institutions to provide reasonable entertainment in conjunction with competition or practice.
  • 16-7, which would allow schools to provide actual and necessary expenses to student-athletes representing the institution in practice and competition (including expenses for activities/travel that are incidental to practice or competition) as well as in noncompetitive events like goodwill tours and media appearances.
  • 16-8, which would allow student-athletes to receive actual and necessary expenses and “reasonable benefits” associated with a national team practice and competition. The proposal would also allow institutions to pay for any number of national team tryouts and championship events.

A full review of the Rules Working Group recommendations 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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