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October 12, 2009

Keeping up with Compliance

By: Jimmy Robertson

The compliance corner is answering questions concerning the governance of 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’m a high school football coach and I wanted to know why the coaches can’t even watch the players do some voluntary passing drills and stuff like that over the summer?” – Marcus in Virginia Beach.

TP: “During this decade, NCAA legislation was adopted and modified to permit football student-athletes to engage in voluntary summer weight-training and conditioning activities conducted by members of our strength and conditioning staff. The period of time during which this can happen is eight weeks in length, and falls within the nine weeks leading up to the beginning of preseason practice in August. The limit for these types of activities is eight hours per week. Due to the fact that these activities are required to be voluntary, members of our coaching staff may not watch these workouts, or even receive reports on who attended, how often, etc. Likewise, when student-athletes utilize the practice fields during the summer to pass, catch, kick or punt on their own, coaches are prohibited from watching these informal, player-directed activities as well.”

Q: “I was wondering how many tickets a recruit got, or do the parents have to pay for their tickets?” – John in Roanoke.

TP: “This is an interesting question, John, because there are varying dynamics involved. First, it’s important to make clear that actual tickets are not provided. NCAA regulations only permit prospects to receive complimentary admissions via a pass list. The maximum number of complimentary admissions that can be received by a prospect is three per contest. This applies to Official (paid) and Unofficial Visits. One of the three is used by the prospect, and the other two are generally used by family members, friends or perhaps the prospect’s coach.

In August 2008, NCAA legislation was amended to include an exception and permit additional complimentary admissions in conjunction with Official Visits to be provided in those cases where the prospect is a member of a non-traditional family. For purposes of this bylaw, a non-traditional family is one where the recruit’s parents are either divorced or separated. If one or both of the parents wish to bring a guest, we are permitted to provide up to two additional complimentary admissions to the prospect (for a maximum of five). If a prospect has more than two guests and is on an Unofficial Visit, or is on an Official Visit and does not qualify for the non-traditional family exception, a ticket must be purchased for each additional seat needed.

Q: “Does the school provide money for Tech players to eat while on the road for games?” – Tom in Christiansburg.

TP: “Well, Tom, we don’t always provide money, but we do make sure that nobody goes hungry. There are a couple of options that coaches can use to make sure their student-athletes are sufficiently fed while on the road. One option is to provide per diem (money for the student-athlete to pay for the meal himself/herself) to cover some or all of the meals. If a coach uses this option, Virginia Tech may provide money, or a combination of money for some meals and food for others, up to four times per day (three meals and one snack). The maximum per diem dollar value for each meal matches the allowance provided by the Commonwealth of Virginia for employees dining in that location. The second option is to provide the actual meals to a team – at a restaurant, on the bus, in the hotel – from the time the team leaves Blacksburg until the time they return. This option means all food and no money, and if this option is chosen, there is no limit on the number of times that food can be made available to team members.”