The Michael L. Buckner Law Firm continues its rules-education series with a review of NCAA legislation. Today’s post concerns NCAA Bylaws 18.104.22.168 (Four-Year College Prospective Student-Athletes) and 22.214.171.124.1 (Hearing Opportunity).
Bylaw 126.96.36.199 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)
Bylaw 188.8.131.52.1 states:
If the institution decides to deny a student-athlete’s request to permit any other institution to contact the student-athlete about transferring, the institution shall inform the student-athlete in writing that he or she, upon request, shall be provided a hearing conducted by an institutional entity or committee outside the athletics department (e.g., the office of student affairs; office of the dean of students; or a committee composed of the faculty athletics representative, student-athletes and nonathletics faculty/staff members). The institution shall conduct the hearing and provide written results of the hearing to the student-athlete within 15 business days (see Bylaw 13.02.1) of receipt of the student-athlete’s written request for a hearing. The student-athlete shall be provided the opportunity to actively participate (e.g., in person, via telephone) in the hearing. If the institution fails to conduct the hearing or provide the written results to the student-athlete within 15 business days, permission to contact the student-athlete shall be granted by default and the institution shall provide written permission to the student-athlete. (Adopted: 1/11/94, Revised: 9/18/07, 4/29/10 effective 8/1/10)
The bylaws have been applied in numerous enforcement (major and secondary), student-athlete reinstatement and legislative relief cases. The most recent secondary infractions case involving the bylaws occurred on June 6, 2011 (Secondary Case Number 48064) involving a Division I men’s track team:
Facts: On June 6, 2011, the institution failed to provide the written results of the permission to contact and one-time transfer exception hearing to SA within 15 business days of the receipt of SA’s written request for a hearing. Specifically, SA requested permission to contact another institution and use of his one-time transfer exception in writing on May 4. The institution notified SA on May 6 that his permission to contact had been denied, and on May 12, SA requested in writing an appeal hearing. On May 20, SA requested permission to contact four additional institutions, and, at that time, SA was notified the institution was denying his request to contact the initial institution and the four additional institutions. Additionally, SA was informed that the appeal hearing would include consideration of all the institutions he requested permission to contact, as well as the use of the one-time transfer exception. The appeal hearing was conducted on May 23, and shortly after, SA was notified by phone from the faculty athletics representative that permission to contact and use of the one-time transfer exception was denied for all institutions. On June 9, SA was sent written notice via email that his permission to contact and use of the one-time transfer exception appeal had been denied. The written decision on June 9 was within 15 business days of the date SA made the four additional requests for permission to contact; however, June 9 was not within 15 business days of SA’s initial May 12 permission to contact request. The violation was discovered when SA’s father contacted the compliance office inquiring about the legislation.
Additional Facts: Institution has policies and procedures in place for compliance in this area. The SA was given his due process in a timely manner. The transfer appeal procedures have been revised to include a checklist with an outlook reminder set for the 15 business days. Additionally, the responsibility for this process has been shifted to the compliance eligibility coordinator and a letter template has been writtten and approved for future use. SA was granted permission to contact the original school due to this violation. This letter was transmitted on June 15, 2011. A letter of admonishment will be sent to the compliance staff members involved.
Enforcement Action: No further action.
Eligibility Action: None.
The Michael L. Buckner Law Firm recommends NCAA member institutions: (a) review Bylaws 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11.1 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.