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November 10, 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, senior assistant AD for compliance:

Q: What’s the latest on the possibilities of Kwamaine Battle and Barquell Rivers getting a medical redshirt this season? Coach Beamer brought up Barquell recently at one of his news conferences. Thanks.
- Anne in Pembroke, Va.

TP: “To correct a common misconception, the term ‘medical redshirt’ does not exist in the NCAA Manual. A student-athlete either ‘redshirts’ during a season (i.e. does not compete at all), or Tech files a ‘medical hardship waiver’ on his/her behalf in the case of injury resulting in limited competition. To receive a waiver, the student-athlete must not have participated in more than 30 percent of the team’s contests, with none of that competition occurring past the midpoint of the season. Obviously, appropriate medical documentation must exist regarding the injury or illness

“When a student-athlete misses all, or nearly all, of two seasons during his/her career, the issue becomes one of obtaining an extension of the five-year clock (or, as commonly described, getting a sixth year). To be granted a sixth year, a student-athlete must demonstrate that he/she missed the two seasons for reasons outside of his/her control. A standard freshman redshirt year does not meet this requirement.

“I feel very confident about Kwamaine’s case for a sixth year. He was unable to play as a true freshman because of shoulder injuries that necessitated surgery. This season, he tore his ACL in the second game. So he meets the criteria, and I see no reason why he won’t be granted the extension.

“Barquell’s situation is different for a couple of reasons – not the least of which because he’s still trying to come back and get on the field this season. But I suspect that we’d have no real hope of getting a sixth year granted to him. He redshirted his freshman year, and to my knowledge, no injury was involved.”

Q: What was your take on the recent Sports Illustrated story about the former agent (Josh Luchs) who said he gave money to more than 30 players while they were in college in the early and mid-1990s?
- Brian in Christiansburg.

TP: “I can’t say that I’m surprised. Given the issues at North Carolina, Southern Cal and other schools, I’m surprised that more stories like this haven’t been broken.

“The issue of agents is one of the biggest facing compliance offices – and really, athletics departments – in college athletics today. We’re all constantly educating our student-athletes and reminding them that they cannot accept cash or extra benefits. It’s that simple.

“You do see now some cooperation and proactive steps where the NFL and NCAA are working together in regards to this issue, and I think that’s a good thing. I’m anxious to see what comes out of those meetings in the future.”

Q: What are the most-asked questions of you and your office?
- Matt in Christiansburg.

TP: “From the coaching staffs, most of the questions center on recruiting – generally about the permissibility of certain situations, actions, etc. A large portion of our work in the compliance office at Tech involves finding answers to the daily questions from coaching staffs.”