User ID: Password:

June 28, 2010

Keeping up with Compliance

By: Jimmy Robertson

The compliance corner answers questions concerning the governance of intercollegiate athletics and its impact on our athletics department. Have a question? Please send it to and we’ll answer it in upcoming issues.

Now, here are a couple of questions that we’ve received from Tech alums and fans over the past few months, with responses from Tim Parker, the department’s senior assistant AD for compliance:

Q: I read in the local newspaper where UVa coach Mike London got in some hot water for posting something on Facebook. Can you clarify what happened and what is allowed under NCAA rules and regulations?
– Randy in Radford, Virginia.

TP: “Sure. A message was posted on the ‘wall’ of a recruit’s profile page on Facebook. NCAA rules state that the only electronic correspondence allowed is through e-mail or faxes. Anything else is prohibited.

“Now, a coach can still send a private e-mail through Facebook or MySpace or any other social networking site to a recruit. That remains permissible. But posting on a recruit’s wall on his Facebook profile page is deemed as a public comment, and the NCAA treats that the same as a quote about the prospect in the newspaper or on a television newscast. NCAA institutions cannot make any public comments about a prospective student-athlete.”

Q: This may seem like a ridiculous question, but it concerns Tech track and field standout Queen Harrison. If she had won the gold medal at the 2008 Olympics, would she have been able to accept it since she was a student-athlete at the time of that particular event?
– Tim in Christiansburg, Virginia.

TP: “That’s not a ridiculous question at all. In fact, it’s a good one.

“Yes, she would have been able to accept the medal and keep it. The NCAA’s rule states that an individual may receive an award, as opposed to cash or items redeemable for cash, based on place finish in outside competition, subject to applicable pre- and post-enrollment awards limits.”

Q: A prospect enrolls in summer school at a university, and then, instead of enrolling at that university for the fall semester, he or she decides to enroll at another university. Is this permissible under NCAA guidelines?
– Amanda in Charlottesville, Virginia.

TP: “It is permissible, but there likely would be consequences. The nature of the consequences depends on whether the prospective student-athlete received athletically related financial aid to attend summer school. If so, then that individual would be considered a transfer and subject to all requirements governing transfers. He or she would need to be “released” by school No. 1 in order to have a chance to compete immediately or receive athletically related financial aid at school No. 2.

“Now, there is an exception. If the prospective student-athlete is denied admission for full-time fall enrollment at school No. 1, then he or she could enroll at school No. 2 consequence-free, without being considered a transfer student.”

Q: Can a coach endorse a recruiting service, such as Rivals?
– Don in Big Stone Gap, Virginia.

TP: “No. A coach cannot endorse a recruiting or scouting service. A coach also cannot serve as a consultant to such a service, nor can he or she participate on an advisory panel for such a service. The only thing a Division I college coach can do is grant an interview to a recruiting or scouting service.”

Q: What is it with basketball coaches and phone calls? First, there was the Kelvin Sampson issue and now UConn is being investigated for making 161 impermissible phone calls and at least 191 impermissible text messages to recruits.
– Bryan in Morgantown, West Virginia.

TP: “I would be hesitant to say that this is strictly a basketball problem. It just appears that way because you’ve mentioned two high-profile situations at Indiana and Connecticut.

“I can’t speak as to what Coach Sampson or the two assistant coaches at UConn were thinking because the NCAA rules are pretty clear. You’re not allowed to call recruits until the summer after their junior seasons and then only during specific contact periods, with the exception being football. Football coaches may call recruits as often as they want during the specified period. Our compliance office monitors all of this. As for text messaging, the NCAA banned that method as a way of communication.

“The NCAA has made it clear that they want to protect recruits from being flooded with phone calls from coaches and that it will strongly enforce these rules. Anyone who violates them will be dealt with severely.”

Q: What sort of new rules changes are you and your staff monitoring these days?
– John in Washington, D.C.

TP: “During the past couple of months, we’ve been focused on issues related to camps, the recruitment of individuals who delay initial collegiate enrollment after high school, media guides and men’s basketball recruiting. A number of legislative proposals have been adopted in these areas, some of which were subsequently reconsidered or modified. Helping our coaches and fellow administrators understand these changes – and keep ahead of them – is an ongoing part of our job in the compliance office.”