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March 10, 2011

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: I was reading Inside Hokie Sports’ recruiting issue and noticed that, when most prospects come on an official visit, a current member of the team serves as the host. Is this a way for a current team member to make a little extra money? Thanks. Dave in Blacksburg.

TP: “No. The host does receive a stipend of $30 a day for each day of the visit (official visits are limited to 48 hours), but this money is intended to cover the costs of entertaining the prospect and his/her parents or legal guardians, excluding the costs of meals and admission to campus athletics events.

“Also, the host can be provided with an additional $15 a day if he/she hosts two prospects at the same time. None of these funds can be used to purchase souvenirs such as T-shirts or other school-related items.”

Q: In the last issue of Inside Hokie Sports, I read where a coach can e-mail a prospect as many times as he or she wants using Facebook, but that a coach cannot write on that prospect’s “wall.” What’s the big deal? Marc in Philadelphia.

TP: “Facebook, like most forms of social media, is creating new NCAA issues to be interpreted, and everyone in athletics is forced to deal with a constantly evolving situation. The “wall” is considered a public forum, and therefore, a posting there by an athletics department staff member violates NCAA rules related to publicizing the recruiting process. It’s the same as if a coach directly comments to a newspaper or a television station about a prospect. That’s not permissible. Coaches have been caught posting photos on prospects’ walls, and that’s impermissible as well.

“Fans also have to be careful when using Facebook to attempt to influence prospects. Two years ago, N.C. State’s compliance department sent a cease-and-desist letter ordering a fan to shut down a Facebook page titled: ‘John Wall, Please Come To N.C. State.’

“The intent of these regulations is sincere. To the degree that it can, the NCAA membership wants to keep the recruiting process from becoming overly burdensome on the prospects and keep it from being waged in public. Without restrictions on social media postings, Facebook would be just another high-tech avenue for fans and coaches to subvert that process.

“Basically, college coaches can send e-mail messages to prospects through the ‘message’ function of Facebook. That’s the extent of permissible Facebook activity.”

Q: You made mention of the Ohio State situation a few issues back, with the five players being suspended the first five games of this upcoming season. But doesn’t Terrelle Pryor have to repay some money as well? What if he can’t? Thanks. Katy in Blacksburg.

TP: “Yes, he does. According to media reports, Pryor has to repay $2,500. That money gets sent to a charity of the student-athlete’s choice. A student-athlete who can’t repay the money immediately may enter into a formal repayment plan, which must be completed prior to the time that his/her eligibility is exhausted. This is true for any repayment resulting from a Bylaw 16 (Student-Athlete Benefits) violation.

“Looking at a case closer to home, a Radford men’s basketball player had been suspended for the first 21 games of this season for playing on a youth club team that included one or more professional players in his native France. In addition, he is responsible for repaying (also to charity) $8,000 received from that team prior to enrolling at Radford. Unfortunately, the young man has not been unable to repay the entire amount, and so even though the original 21-game suspension has ended, he remains ineligible to compete because the option for entering into a formal repayment plan does not exist for this Bylaw 12 (Amateurism) violation.”