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College Sports, Division I, Division II, Division III, Education

The NCAA Rule on Honesty and Sportsmanship

NCAA Bylaw 10 contains numerous rules governing the ethical conduct of institutional personnel and student-athletes. One rule, Bylaw 10.01.1, address honesty and sportsmanship:

“Individuals employed by (or associated with) a member institution to administer, conduct or coach intercollegiate athletics and all participating student-athletes shall act with honesty and sportsmanship at all times so that intercollegiate athletics as a whole, their institutions and they, as individuals, shall represent the honor and dignity of fair play and the generally recognized high standards associated with wholesome competitive sports.”

Recently, the NCAA Division II Committee on Infractions applied Bylaw 10.01.1 in the major enforcement case involving the University of California—San Diego. In the August 6, 2013, infractions report, the Committee on Infractions determined, during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 academic years, the former head women’s rowing coach (“head coach”) violated, among other rules, the principles of honesty and sportsmanship by engaging in numerous acts, including the following:

  • Allowed student-athletes to practice and compete at times the head coach knew the student-athletes were ineligible.
  • Told an ineligible student-athlete to sign a race waiver and meal receipts; allowed ineligible student-athlete to travel with the team to the events.
  • Told an ineligible student-athlete not to tell “a whole lot of people” about the ineligible student-athlete’s participation.
  • Listed an ineligible student-athlete’s inverted initials on practice documents and told the student-athlete to avoid the weight room—in an attempt to disguise the student-athlete’s impermissible participation.

Buckner recommends NCAA member institutions implement a comprehensive ethics education and compliance program. An effective program will educate institutional personnel on ethics and professional standards; reduce misconduct; and demonstrate institutional control.

Contact Michael L. Buckner (954-941-1844; mbuckner@bucknersportslaw.com) for more information on NCAA infractions cases and ethics education and compliance programs.


About Michael L. Buckner, Esquire

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


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