NEWS
ADDITIONAL NEWS
What is a "Failure to Monitor"?: A Review of the Committee on Infractions' Expectations, Part II [Higher-Ed/College Athletics Best Practices Alert (Fourth Quarter 2013)]

Author: Michael L. Buckner, Esquire (Shareholder)

NCAA Constitution 2.8.1 declares a member institution "shall comply with all applicable rules and regulations of the Association in the conduct of its intercollegiate athletics programs" and "shall monitor its programs to assure compliance and to identify and report to the Association instances in which compliance has not been achieved." Buckner continues its multi-part series exploring an institution's duty to monitor compliance with NCAA legislation. The entries in this series will use decisions and commentary from the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions during the 2013 period to illustrate the scope of an institution's duty to monitor. The second article in this series reviews decisions of the Committee on Infractions beginning with the January 30, 2013, University of Southern Mississippi case and ending with the June 26, 2013, University of Oregon case.

University of Southern Mississippi (January 30, 2013)

The Committee on Infractions ruled the institution failed to monitor because it:

  1. Did not maintain, and, therefore, could not produce documentation confirming that the institution's foreign tour approval and certification process was completed as required by NCAA Bylaw 30.7.1.
  2. Did not maintain, and, therefore, could not produce expense forms or reports, as required by the institution's travel policies and procedures, for the expenditures made by a former head coach.
  3. Did not closely track per diems provided for away-from-home contests (institutional funds "left over" after a road trip could have been the source of an impermissible payment to a student-athlete for writing a former student-athlete’s history assignment).
  4. Did not provide a regular review of purchases or travel expense reports.
  5. Failed to provide the athletics compliance office with the necessary staff or resources. Specifically, the senior associate athletics director for compliance and the compliance coordinator were responsible for 16 sport programs and approximately 360 student-athletes. Further, the senior associate athletics director for compliance had additional non-compliance duties (i.e., overseeing the cheering squad, dance team and scheduling football games); thus, the position’s duties were not fully committed to compliance.

St. Mary's College of California (March 1, 2013)

The Committee on Infractions ruled the institution failed to monitor because it:

  1. Failed to conduct an adequate investigation of the information provided by a state high-school athletics association as it related to the recruitment of a prospective student-athlete. Specifically, the institution limited its inquiry to asking the head coach, whose program would benefit, if he knew about the prospect. The head coach stated that he had "heard of" the prospect, but the institution was not recruiting him. The institution did not conduct additional interviews or review the records.
  2. The institution failed to monitor the involvement of men's basketball student-athletes with outside basketball trainers and conditioning coaches to ensure compliance with NCAA legislation. [Note: The facts in this instance demonstrate that a volunteer fitness trainer and a professional basketball trainer conducted cost-free, on campus conditioning sessions with members of the men's basketball team.] The institution did not have in place proper mechanisms to monitor the activities. Further, the institution possessed a lack of communication within the athletics department. For example, the senior athletics department staff did not communicate with the compliance officer that the workouts conducted by the fitness trainer and the basketball trainer were taking place. [Note: The committee determined that the conduct of the fitness trainer amounted to a secondary violation.]

University of Oregon (June 26, 2013)

The Committee on Infractions ruled the institution failed to monitor because:

  1. The institution failed to provide “ongoing and specific rules education,” including rules-education sessions tailored directly for the football operations staffs (including a failure by the institution to designate someone responsible for educating the football operations staff).
  2. The institution did not check to see whether compliance with the rules has occurred, including: followed-up with the recruiting service provider to see that the form it had sent to him was properly completed and filed; and checked with the football staff to see that the recruiting service provider was submitting quarterly reports.
  3. The former assistant director of operations failed to report his concerns about where a prospective student-athlete obtained an Oregon T-shirt after seeing the prospect on YouTube wearing the shirt (the assistant director earlier sent a box of Oregon athletic apparel to the recruiting service provider involved in the case).
  4. Failed to operate a monitoring system for the football operation staff's telephone calls (including a failure by the institution to designate someone responsible for monitoring the football operations staff).

Contact Michael L. Buckner (954-941-1844; mbuckner@bucknersportslaw.com) for more information pertaining to the NCAA enforcement process and decisions of the Committee on Infractions.