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January 17, 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: I read recently where Marquie Cooke is playing basketball for Elizabeth City State. How in the world does that guy still have eligibility left? He played at Tech about 10 years ago. Thanks, Jeff in Crozet, Va.

TP: “It certainly seems that way, doesn’t it? Marquie played at Virginia Tech during the 2004-05 season before departing in April of 2005. He subsequently went to Colorado State, where he never played and did not finish the fall semester. He then went to Louisiana-Lafayette, but he never played there either. Cooke ultimately landed at Elizabeth City State, a Division II school in Elizabeth City, N.C.

“Without going into a lot of detail, the time period within which a student-athlete must complete his/her four seasons of competitive eligibility is different at the Division II level. Unlike the Division I model – where the 'five-year clock' starts with initial collegiate enrollment and does not stop ticking regardless of whether the student-athlete continues to attend school – the Division II time period is simply 10 semesters of full-time enrollment. This accommodates breaks in attendance and would enable someone who was out of school for several semesters to still compete, even seven or eight years after starting college.”

Q: What is the latest on the NCAA’s plan to pay a $2,000 stipend to student-athletes? David in Newport News, Va.

TP: “In October, the NCAA Division I Board of Directors (college presidents and chancellors) bypassed normal legislative procedure and adopted an amendment that would allow schools to provide an extra $2,000 to Division I student-athletes on full scholarships. However, that legislation faces an override challenge at the NCAA convention in January. At this point, more than 150 schools have signed onto the override measure, which means that the legislative amendment has been suspended (125 were needed for this).

“The Board of Directors now has three options: Rescind the stipend and operate under previous NCAA rules, modify the amendment and create a new proposal that would go back to the schools for a 60-day comment period, or allow members to vote on the override. It would a take a 5/8ths majority of the roughly 350 Division I members to overturn the new legislation and eliminate the $2,000 option.

“Opponents of the amendment cite increased financial obligations, equity issues related to Title IX, questions of fairness in light of the restriction of the $2,000 to full scholarship student-athletes only, and discomfort with the lack of normal review and discussion prior to adoption of the amendment.

“We’ll know more about this issue following the NCAA convention in January.”

Q: How long does it take the NCAA to investigate violations? Thanks, Norm in Suffolk, Va.

TP: “That varies from case to case. The NCAA enforcement staff has a high standard of proof to proceed with an allegation of rules violations. The enforcement staff must take the time necessary to obtain complete information from individuals involved and outside sources.

“When the NCAA begins to review a situation, it sends a notice of inquiry to the school president or chancellor. The investigation takes place, and then, the NCAA sends a notice of allegations of any specific rules infractions. The school has 90 days to respond, though it may request additional time if necessary.

“After a school responds, a hearing date is set with the Committee on Infractions. After the hearing, the COI discusses the case privately, determining findings of violations, if there are any, and assessing penalties. The penalties vary depending on the situation. Penalties are announced once the committee writes the infractions report which documents the specific findings, the penalties and the supporting rationale for both. After the hearing, it typically takes between six to eight weeks to release the report.

“Both institutions and involved individuals may appeal findings and penalties to the Infractions Appeals Committee. This committee reviews the case, but does not consider new evidence. The timeline for an appeals process varies, but its decision is final.”