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March 16, 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 saw where UCF got put on probation for improper phone calls or text messages by two former employees. One was called a “recruiting administrator” and one was a “director of player personnel.” So who exactly can call or text a recruit? Just a coach? Can a graduate assistant? Thanks. Bill in Danville, Va.

TP: “When talking about the various forms of electronic communication, it is important to recognize that text messaging no longer plays a role in the actual ‘recruitment’ of prospective student-athletes. In that period of time when a coaching staff is attempting to recruit a prospect, e-mail is the only avenue available for modern electronic communication. It is permissible to send e-mails to a prospect beginning September 1 of his/her junior year of high school (a little earlier – June 15 – in the sport of men’s basketball). Text messages, on the other hand, may not be sent until after a prospect has signed a national letter of intent. So texting is only permitted after a commitment is made. For this reason, text messaging is not really a recruiting tool. Once an NLI has been signed, text messages may be sent by any departmental staff member, including graduate assistants and non-coaching staff members.”

Q: Florida State recently had wins vacated because of an academic cheating scandal. Someone told me that only the won-lost record for Florida State would change and not the Seminoles’ opponents. Is this true? Tori from Hattiesburg, Miss.

TP: “In this situation, yes. The won-lost records for each of the opposing teams are not changed when games are vacated. And except for any student-athletes declared ineligible, the individual statistics and the opponents’ records are not affected by this action.

“Now, please don’t confuse the terms ‘vacate’ and ‘forfeit.’ They are different and the NCAA treats them as such. If a team has to forfeit, then the situation is a little different. To record a forfeit, the wins of the penalized team must be changed to losses, and the losses of its opponent must be changed to wins. This affects season records, all-time records and coaches’ records, and should be changed whenever and wherever these records are referred. And except for any student-athletes declared ineligible, the individual statistics are not affected by this action.”

Q: With all the snow that’s bombarded the state this winter, and in particular, the New River Valley, I was wondering if the baseball and softball teams could travel to a different location and practice for a few days or maybe a weekend. Does the NCAA permit this? Donna from Floyd, Va.

TP: “For a ‘normal’ practice (that is, one not associated with away-from-home competition), the NCAA allows teams to travel anywhere within the state the campus is located in, or out of state provided the location is no more than 100 miles from campus. So, for example, if one of our venues needed repairing or one of our playing fields wasn’t in good condition because of weather, we could go practice anywhere in Virginia, or somewhere in North Carolina or West Virginia within 100 miles.

“Our baseball team actually attempted to do this to get outdoors for a couple of practices in mid-February. They traveled to Winston-Salem, with plans on practicing Friday, spending the night and then practicing again on Saturday before coming home. Unfortunately, the weather there was so snowy and cold that the Saturday practice was cancelled.

“Now, on occasion, the NCAA grants a special exception to travel beyond the 100-mile limit for practice and we were granted one of those for our golf team. The golf team planned to go to Fort Mill, S.C., to play two practice rounds on two separate courses there a couple of weeks before their first tournament of the spring season. But it snowed there, too, and the team did not get to go.”

Q: Does watching film or lifting weights count toward the NCAA’s restrictions on practice time? Amanda in Charlottesville, Va.

TP: “Yes, absolutely. When a sport is ‘in season,’ NCAA regulations limit programs to 20 hours of countable athletically related activities a week. That includes lifting weights, watching film or any similar activity required by the coaching staff.

“It could even include something like shoveling snow. If the baseball team was required to spend an hour shoveling snow off the baseball field before practice, that would count.”