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March 14, 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: This may seem like a random question, but are parking passes part of a student-athlete's scholarship? Thanks, Ashleigh in Blacksburg.

TP: “Actually, that's a very good question. The answer is no. Parking passes are not covered under a student-athlete's scholarship. Having a vehicle on campus has never been deemed a necessity by the NCAA membership, so therefore, schools may not purchase parking passes for their student-athletes. A full athletics scholarship covers the costs of tuition and required fees, room, board, and required textbooks. It does not cover optional fees, fines or tickets.”

Q: I'm a student here at Tech, and I've seen football recruits come to basketball games for "Junior Day." Am I allowed to go up to them and talk to them about the positives of coming to Virginia Tech? Sincerely, Joe from Fairfax, Va.

TP: “No. NCAA rules combine to reinforce the general principle that only coaches should be involved in the recruitment of prospects. Along those lines, NCAA Bylaw 13.01.5 states that a booster of an institution's athletics program is 'prohibited from making in-person, on- or off-campus recruiting contacts, or written or telephonic communications with a prospect or the prospect’s relatives or legal guardians.'

“Now, the term 'booster' includes those who have made financial contributions to an athletics department, but it also includes season ticket holders, anyone who has assisted in the recruiting process, anyone who has provided a summer job to an enrolled student-athlete, and anyone who has otherwise promoted the institution's athletics program. This includes alums and current students. So our advice is don't talk to, write, call, e-mail, text, tweet or even enter a chat room with a recruit or a recruit's parents or legal guardians.

“Also, remember, these prohibitions don't go away when a recruit signs a letter-of-intent. A recruit remains a recruit until he or she arrives on campus and starts the first day of classes.”

Q: I keep hearing the term “show cause” when it comes to some coaches who have committed NCAA violations. What exactly does that mean? Can they ever coach again? Thanks, Donna from Floyd, Va.

TP: “A show-cause penalty is an order saying that, for a set period of time, any NCAA penalties imposed on a coach involved in major rules violations will remain in force if he or she is hired by any other NCAA member institution. Both the new (hiring) school and coach are required to send letters to the NCAA agreeing to abide by any restrictions imposed, and report back to the NCAA every six months until the end of employment or the show-cause, whichever comes first.

“If the school wishes to avoid the NCAA restrictions imposed on that individual, it must appear before the NCAA Committee on Infractions and 'show cause' as to why it should not be penalized for hiring him or her.

“Contrary to popular belief, an NCAA member school is allowed to hire a coach with a show-cause order outstanding. However, as mentioned above, any school that hires a coach with a show-cause order in effect can be penalized merely for doing so. Additionally, that school can face severe penalties if a coach commits another violation during the length of the penalty.

“Consequently, most schools will not even consider hiring a coach with a show-cause penalty in effect. Only one men's basketball coach has ever gotten another head coaching job after being hit with a show-cause (former Cal head coach Todd Bozeman, who is now at Morgan State).”

Q: Can you tell me the latest on the multiyear scholarship situation? I thought that was supposed to be settled in late January. Thanks, Kyle from Blacksburg.

TP: “The NCAA legislation enabling colleges to offer multiyear scholarships to student-athletes, which was approved by the NCAA's Division I board of directors last October, barely survived -- by two votes -- a repeal effort in mid-February by a large contingent of the Division I schools. So the legislation stands.

“Keep in mind, though, that the measure merely gives schools the option of making multiyear offers rather than one-year offers, and those schools can choose to which athletes those scholarships are given, as well as their duration. It doesn't require schools to offer multiyear scholarships.

“Another controversial proposal - the $2,000 stipend for scholarship athletes to cover miscellaneous expenses - is still under review. Options are expected to be discussed in April.”