In-Person Meeting No. 4
September 6, 2000
Acting for the Division I Management Council, the Academics/Eligibility/Compliance Cabinet Subcommittee on Legislative Review/Interpretations issued the following interpretations:
Benefits/Medical Expenses/Nutritional Supplements
1. Providing Glucosamine and Condroitin to Student-Athletes for Medical Purposes. It is permissible for an institution to provide glucosamine and condroitin to a student-athlete for medical purposes, provided such substances are prescribed by a licensed medical doctor (as opposed to a trainer) to treat a specific, diagnosed medical condition (as opposed to prescribing them for preventative reasons) and are necessary to enable to the student-athlete to participate in intercollegiate athletics. [References: NCAA Bylaws 16.4.1 (medical expenses -- permissible) and 184.108.40.206 (nutritional supplements); 07/26/00 official interpretation, Item No. 1.]
2. Youth Team Sponsored by a Professional Team. An athletics youth team is considered a professional team if the team serves as a "feeder team" for a professional sports team or organization, or if the team is controlled, owned or operated to any extent by a professional sports team or organization. An athletics youth team is not considered a professional team if it receives sponsorship monies from, but operates independently of, a professional sports team or organization, provided the conditions of Bylaw 220.127.116.11 are satisfied. [References: Bylaws 12.02.4 (professional athletics team) and 18.104.22.168 (youth teams).]
Unethical Conduct/Academic Fraud Violations
3. Academic Fraud. The subcommittee reviewed the application of Bylaw 10.1-(b) as it relates to academic fraud and agreed that the following guidelines generally should be used in determining whether an incident of academic fraud should be reported to the NCAA as a violation of Bylaw 10.1-(b) or should be handled exclusively at the institutional level in accordance with its policies applicable to all students:
a. The subcommittee confirmed that an institution is required to report a violation of Bylaw 10.1-(b) any time an institutional staff member (for example, coach, professor, tutor, teaching assistant) is knowingly involved in arranging fraudulent academic credit or false transcripts for a prospective or enrolled student-athlete, regardless of whether the institutional staff member acted alone or in concert with the prospective or enrolled student-athlete.
b. The subcommittee confirmed that an institution is required to report a violation of Bylaw 10-1-(b) any time a student-athlete, acting alone or in concert with others, knowingly becomes involved in arranging fraudulent academic credit or false transcripts, regardless of whether such conduct results in an erroneous declaration of eligibility.
c. If a student-athlete commits an academic offense (for example, cheating on a test, plagiarism on a term paper) with no involvement of an institutional staff member, the institution is not required to report a violation of Bylaw 10.1-(b), unless the academic offense results in an erroneous declaration of eligibility and the student-athlete subsequently competes for the institution.
Finally, the subcommittee noted that in all cases in which a student-athlete knowingly engages in conduct that violates institutional policies, the institution is required in all cases to handle a student-athlete's academic offense in accordance with its established academic policies applicable to all students, regardless of whether the violation is reportable under Bylaw 10.1-(b)] or whether the student-athlete was acting along or in concert with others. [Reference: Bylaw 10.1-(b).]
Financial Aid/Calculating Board Costs
4. Providing Board Costs Through Declining Balance System. The subcommittee clarified that if an institution provides financial aid to cover the cost of meals through a declining meal balance system (for example, debit card system) rather than through a meal plan consisting of a specific number of meals (for example, 17-meal plan, 21-meal plan), it is permissible for an institution to provide a student-athlete with a dollar amount for meals that is equivalent to the maximum board allowance for all students as calculated by the financial aid office and published in the institution's catalog. [References: Bylaws 15.2.2 (room and board), 22.214.171.124 (off-campus room and board stipend) and 126.96.36.199.2 (determination of off-campus board costs).]
Financial Aid/Composition of Appeals Committee
5. Composition of Financial Aid Appeals Committee. It is permissible for an institution to establish a separate financial aid appeals committee that only hears appeals by student-athletes whose financial aid has been canceled or reduced, provided:
a. No athletics department staff member serves as a member of the appeals committee;
b. No athletics department staff member is involved in the decision-making of the appeals committee; and
c. The decisions of the appeals committee are made in accordance with the institution's normal practices and policies for all students. [References: Bylaws 188.8.131.52.3 (hearing opportunity required) and 184.108.40.206.1 (hearing opportunity required).]