User ID: Password:

March 19, 2013

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: What are your thoughts on the NCAA’s recent decisions to let anything go when it comes to recruiting? Thanks, Sharon in Blacksburg.

TP: “To briefly recap, a series of NCAA amendments – most focused on recruiting – have been adopted that will reduce the size of the NCAA Manual by 25 pages through the elimination of several existing rules. From the perspective of many athletics administrators, the bulk of these rules were seen as unenforceable.

“For instance, limits on coaches calling recruits will be eliminated, restrictions on the types of written and electronic ‘materials’ that can be sent to a recruit will be eliminated, and texting will be allowed. These changes are scheduled to take effect at the end of the summer.

“Recently, however, there has been a great deal of backlash from the NCAA membership, and it now appears that some of the amendments are in jeopardy. If 75 or more Division I schools take issue with any of the pending amendments by formally indicating their desire to override prior to the March 20 deadline, one or more of the amendments may be revisited and/or rescinded.”

Q: I saw where Texas got one of its best basketball players (Myck Kabongo) back after he was suspended for 23 games for accepting impermissible benefits. How does the NCAA determine the length of any suspension? Thanks, James in Christiansburg.

TP: “In most cases involving impermissible benefits, players are usually suspended from three to 10 games and ordered to repay the amount of benefits received. Texas suspended the player (Kabongo) for 10 games once it was discovered that an agent had paid for him to travel to Cleveland last spring to work out with a professional trainer.

“However, the player provided inaccurate information to NCAA investigators, so he was suspended for the season.

“The player appealed the decision to the NCAA Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement, and the suspension was reduced to 23 games (including the 10-game suspension from Texas) and he was required to repay $475 in impermissible benefits to a charity of his choice.

“There is an important lesson to be learned here for all student-athletes – be cooperative and truthful when talking with NCAA representatives. Harsh punishment waits for those who do not.”

Q: Did you see where the USC baseball coach got fired just days before the season opener? I guess they were practicing too much. What are the limitations for team practices? I know you’ve addressed this in the past. Thanks, Brian in Christiansburg.

TP: “Yes, I saw that story. The issue there was that the coach knowingly violated the rules. That’s a definite ‘no-no,’ particularly when USC is already on probation.

“Teams are not allowed to practice more than 20 hours per week and four hours per day, and each team must take one day off per week. Practice includes an array of things, such as watching film and doing strength and conditioning activities. Basically, practice includes any coach/athlete interaction related to the sport that isn’t voluntary.”

Q: Just recently, Kentucky reported a secondary violation to the NCAA when Rod Strickland watched film with a player. Strickland is the assistant to the head coach, but isn’t an assistant coach, so therefore, he can’t do any coaching. Why doesn’t the NCAA eliminate positions like these? This seems to be just a way of skirting the NCAA rules. Thanks, Scott in Blacksburg.

TP: “Your point is a valid one, and situations like the one at Kentucky have occurred. Really, though, this is more of an issue for athletics departments to resolve rather than the NCAA. The NCAA already limits basketball staffs to a head coach and three assistant coaches. Each athletics department has the discretion to add other positions within its programs, and those positions are required to abide by NCAA rules, one of which is no ‘hands-on’ coaching. It’s up to the athletics departments to make sure these rules are followed.”

Q: Hey, can you tell me when is the spring signing period, and what sports have a signing day in the spring? Thanks, Robbie in Radford.

TP: The spring signing period for current high school seniors begins on April 17 and includes the following sports at Virginia Tech: baseball, basketball, golf, lacrosse, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, volleyball, and wrestling.