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May 18, 2012

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, Associate AD for Compliance:

Q: Just wondering if you saw the recent penalties handed down to Baylor by the NCAA. How hard is it to monitor phone calls and text messages, and yet the NCAA found that 738 texts and 528 calls were against the rules? I thought coaches had to fill out paperwork every time they made a call. Thanks for your time. Scott in Blacksburg.

TP: “I did see the case, and for those of you who don’t know, the NCAA announced that Baylor broke NCAA rules for establishing a pattern of impermissible calls and texts – which the NCAA deems a major violation – along with some other infractions. Baylor self-imposed the penalties, which included suspending men’s basketball coach Scott Drew for two Big 12 games next season, reducing the number of recruiting visits allowed and losing a scholarship for both 2011-12 and 2012-13. Also, the women’s program was involved, and it lost two scholarships for 2011-12.

“Some of the infractions in this case were the result of improperly logging or failing to log calls to recruits. Our coaches are required to submit monthly phone logs. This can be done electronically or by way of the more traditional format – paper. These logs include information regarding every call made to a recruit. Additionally, two sports are chosen at random each semester for in-depth phone call audits.

“As for the text messaging, that has not been permissible for the past four years, so I’m not sure why Baylor’s coaches would be texting. As with many of the social media technologies, the NCAA membership is taking a look at text messaging and may be making some changes to its rules in the near future.”

Q: What sports have signing periods in the spring and what sports have signing periods in the fall? Thanks. Pam in Christiansburg.

TP: “Actually, most sports have an early signing period the first week of November and then have a regular signing period in early April. The exceptions are football, soccer, track and field, cross country, men’s water polo and field hockey. These sports have one signing period, and that begins the first Wednesday in February.”

Q: I have a friend who is the grandfather of a rising high school junior with great promise in football. I would like to share my Inside Hokie Sports magazine with the grandfather to give him a feel for our great football program. Would the giving of my issue of the magazine be in violation of NCAA guidelines? Thanks, Ed in Richmond

TP: “Ordinarily, in circumstances like this, there is no NCAA rule that would frown on you sharing your magazine copy with your friend. Your friendship with him exists separate from any consideration of anyone’s athletics ability. However, in this case, the real issue at hand is motivation. Why – you must ask yourself – are you especially interested in sharing your copy? If your motivation is to get it in front of a prospective student-athlete, then we must advise against it.

“In broad terms, NCAA regulations dictate that the only individuals permitted to be directly involved in the recruitment of prospects are Virginia Tech coaches and departmental staff members. While the provision of a magazine seems insignificant, it serves to illustrate the point. So in these cases, we ask, respectfully, that you please leave the recruiting to us. I can assure you that our coaches will provide everything needed for the grandson to make an informed decision about Virginia Tech.”

Q: I have a question concerning a player getting a sixth year of eligibility. How does this work, and will David Wang get a sixth year? Tommy in Blacksburg.

TP: “Ordinarily, a Division I student-athlete must complete his/her four seasons of competitive eligibility within five years after initially enrolling in college. The NCAA can grant, and often does, a sixth year for ‘reasons that are beyond the control of the student-athlete or the institution, which deprive the student-athlete of the opportunity to participate for more than one season in his/her sport within a five-year period.’ A student-athlete’s school, on his/her behalf, must request an extension of the Five-Year Eligibility Rule and provide objective evidence that the circumstances were beyond his/her control. Simply redshirting as a freshman does not qualify as ‘out of the control’ of the student-athlete.

“In David’s case, he missed all or most of two seasons for medical reasons. First, a shoulder injury and surgery caused him to miss his freshman year, and then he missed last year with a broken foot. At the conclusion of the 2013 football season, we will submit the waiver request, so David will get a sixth year and compete in 2014. We fully expect this extension to be granted.”