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August 17, 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 Bert Locklin, director of compliance:

Q: There have been a couple of stories in the news recently about football programs having some issues with agents. Supposedly, an agent paid a Florida player $100,000 before the Gators’ Sugar Bowl win over Cincinnati, and there is an issue at North Carolina, too. What are we doing to prevent this from happening at Virginia Tech? Tom in Christiansburg.

BL: “This is one of the biggest issues facing every football program and one in which we’re trying to be very proactive because you’re seeing the agent issue come up time and time again.

“One thing we’re doing is we’re constantly educating our players on what they can and can’t do in regards to agents through team meetings and prospective professional athletes. We remind them that they CANNOT accept any cash or extra benefits, like a car. We tell them to contact the football staff or us if they get approached by an agent or a representative of an agent because they run the risk of suffering the consequences of improper dealings with an agent, which includes the loss of eligibility.

“Also, the NCAA is working hard on this issue. The officials with the NCAA investigate agents and how those agents involve themselves with college athletes. To be honest, most agents have been willing to cooperate with the schools and with the NCAA. But you’re always going to have some who won’t and these are the ones creating problems for all programs.

“The NCAA is cracking down heavily on violators. You probably saw what happened to Southern Cal and the Reggie Bush issue. The Trojans were hit with scholarship reductions and a two-year postseason ban among other things. So it’s worth it for schools to be proactive and for players to be responsible.”

Q: My understanding is that a lot of athletes stay at Tech in the summer, go to summer school, and work out in preparing for the upcoming season. What sorts of things are they allowed to do in the summer as far as the workouts go? Ashley in Durham, North Carolina.

BL: “Student-athletes are allowed to use the Virginia Tech facilities during the summer, and some of our strength and conditioning staff members are allowed to design and conduct workout programs during the summer, too. The key is that these workouts are voluntary and they must be requested specifically by the individual student-athlete. Coaches cannot mandate that student-athletes workout during the summer, but many of our student-athletes, in an attempt to stay in competitive shape, choose to utilize the facilities and our strength and conditioning staff to help better prepare themselves for their upcoming seasons.

“No student-athletes are allowed to ‘practice’ during the summer months with their team/coaches until they report for the next fall term. Some of our sports report for the fall term prior to the first day of school, and then at that time, they can practice with their coaches and teammates. For example, at Virginia Tech, football, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, and men’s and women’s cross country all report back to campus before the first day of school. Our fall sports report back to campus starting on August 3, 2010.”