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Key Considerations for Maintaining NCAA Rules-Compliance at NCAA Division III Institutions [Higher-Ed/College Athletics Best Practices Alert (First Quarter 2014)]

Author: Justin P. Sievert, Esquire (Senior Counsel)

NCAA Division III Constitution 2.1.1 declares “it is the responsibility of each member institution to control its intercollegiate athletics program in compliance with the rules and regulations of the Association.” In light of this principle, Buckner recommends NCAA Division III institutions take into account the following considerations when addressing rules-compliance issues:

  • Hire or designate at least one full-time experienced athletics administrator to oversee athletics compliance. This responsibility should be, at a minimum, the administrator’s primary job responsibility. The institution should also create an athletics compliance committee to assist the administrator with athletics compliance oversight. The athletics compliance committee’s composition could include the director of athletics, the faculty athletics representative, the institution’s legal counsel, and select senior institutional administrators.
  • Provide for professional development opportunities relating to athletics compliance for athletics compliance staff members and other institutional staff members whose responsibilities interface with athletics.
  • Provide a direct line of communication between the institution’s director of athletics and faculty athletics representative with the institution’s president or chancellor.
  • Provide regularly scheduled, mandatory rules-education training to athletics department staff, coaches, student-athletes and other institutional departments that interface with athletics.
  • Create or update the institution’s athletics compliance manual, athletics compliance website and other athletics compliance documents that are provided to athletics department staff, coaches, student-athletes and institutional staff members whose responsibilities interface with athletics. Additionally, the athletics compliance manual and the NCAA Division III Manual should be distributed in hard copy or electronically (e.g., PDF version on iPad or other device) to athletics department staff, coaches and institutional staff members whose responsibilities interface with athletics.
  • Conduct a regular internal review of athletics compliance policies and procedures and rules-education programming to: ensure monitoring systems are operating effectively; and institutional staff members, coaches and student-athletes have a proper understanding of NCAA legislation. This review can be a full review on a regular basis (at least once every four years) or an annual audit of several sections of the compliance program so that all areas are reviewed over a certain time period.
  • Retain an experienced firm to conduct an athletics compliance audit regularly (at least once every four years).

Contact Justin P. Sievert (954-941-1844; jsievert@bucknersportslaw.com) for more information pertaining to NCAA Division III rules-compliance strategies.