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January 8, 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: “You often hear of coaches conducting a practice right after a game in which the team played poorly. I guess this is used as some form of punishment or a wake-up call, but I was wondering if this actually happened much at Tech?” – Joan in Jonesville, Va.

TP: “Actually, the idea that coaches sometimes run “corrective” practices after poor performances is more of a myth than anything else, primarily because it’s not permissible under NCAA rules. NCAA Bylaw states that ‘countable athletically-related activities may not be conducted at any time following competition, except between contests, rounds or events during a multi-day or multi-event competition (e.g. double-headers in softball or baseball, rounds of golf in a multi-day tournament).’”

Q: “I know Michigan is in some hot water with the NCAA because football coach Rich Rodriguez apparently held practices beyond what is allowed. How does a school keep track of this and who is responsible? Thanks.” – Bill in Danville, Va.

TP: “NCAA regulations include strict limits on the amount of time a student-athlete can be involved in activities related to his or her sport, both in and out of season. Within Division I, many different tracking systems are used. At Virginia Tech, each coaching staff is required to complete forms documenting daily and weekly participation in athletically-related activities for all team members. The completed forms are submitted to the compliance office, where they are distributed to each team’s respective representatives on the Virginia Tech Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). The SAAC reps review each form for accuracy, and then can raise questions or sign the form to signify agreement. Once approved, the forms are scanned and the data is maintained in the compliance office.”

Q: “I’ve seen that recruits sometimes have parties on signing day in which they invite the media to attend. I know of one kid who signed his letter-of-intent at a party at the ESPN Zone in Baltimore. Can the coaches attend these types of events?” – John in Hagerstown, Md.

TP: “Yes. In fact, there is an NCAA bylaw that deals specifically with what you’re asking. Bylaw states that ‘coaching staff members may attend functions designed to celebrate the institution’s signees in the applicable sport and may discuss prospective student-athletes who have signed commitments to attend the institution, including discussions with working media, provided the institution previously has released communications of the prospective student-athletes' commitments to attend the institution to media outlets.’”

Q: “I know a lot of student-athletes go home over the holidays, but basketball players and wrestlers often stay in town because of games and meets. If they live on campus, does the athletics department provide them with per diem to buy meals since the dining halls are closed?” – Wanda in Roanoke.

TP: “Yes. NCAA Bylaw 16.5.2-(e)-(1) permits student-athletes who are required to remain on the institution's campus for practice sessions or competition during the institution’s official vacation period to receive room and board expenses.

“But if the student-athlete lives at home during the vacation period, the cost of room and board may not be provided by the institution, other than to permit the student-athlete to participate in team meals incidental to practice sessions.”

Q: “Since it’s bowl season, a question about the bowls. Supposedly, they give gifts to the players who are playing in their games. Does the NCAA have a limit on what types of gifts and the dollar amounts spent on these gifts?” – Matt in York, Pa.

TP:Yes, all gifts and awards provided to student-athletes are governed by maximum value limits. This includes gifts/awards for special achievement (e.g. MVP), as well as those given simply for participation. Each eligible student-athlete participating in a bowl game may receive gifts/awards from the institution valued up to $350, and from the bowl management valued up to $500. The bowl MVP may receive an additional award valued at up to $350 from the bowl sponsor.”