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Compliance Information for Current Student-Athletes

While you are a student-athlete at Springfield College, you are obligated to abide by NCAA, New England Woman’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC), and College rules. The compliance officer will conduct an annual rules orientation session with each team at the beginning of each academic year. This is a mandatory meeting for all NCAA student-athletes. In order to compete as a student-athlete at Springfield, you must do your part to stay within the NCAA guidelines. Below are some frequently asked questions:

What are the ethical rules all NCAA student-athletes must abide by, in and out of season?

You need to remember that participation in athletics is a privilege, not a right. Unethical conduct by a prospective or enrolled student-athlete or a current or former institutional staff member may include, but is not limited to, the following:
a) Refusal to furnish information relevant to an investigation of a possible violation of an NCAA regulation when requested to do so by the NCAA or the individual’s institution;
b) Knowing involvement in arranging for fraudulent academic credit or false transcripts for a prospective or an enrolled student-athlete;
c) Knowing involvement in offering or providing a prospective or an enrolled student-athlete an improper inducement or extra benefit or improper financial aid;
d) Knowingly furnishing the NCAA or the individual’s institution false or misleading information concerning the individual’s involvement in or knowledge of matters relevant to a possible violation of an NCAA regulation;
e) Receipt of benefits by an institutional staff member for facilitating or arranging a meeting between a student-athlete and an agent, financial advisor or a representative of an agent or advisor (e.g., “runner”); or
f) Knowing involvement in providing a banned substance or impermissible supplement to student-athletes, or knowingly providing medications to student-athletes contrary to medical licensure, commonly accepted standards of care in sports practice, or state or federal law.

A student-athlete who participates in any sports wagering activity, through the Internet, a bookmaker, or a parlay card, shall be ineligible for all regular-season and postseason competition for a minimum period of one year. Casino gambling is allowed as long as there is no betting on an NCAA sponsored sport and you are of legal age to gamble.

The use of tobacco products is prohibited by all game personnel (e.g., coaches, trainers, managers and game officials) during all practice and competition.

Bylaw provides that a student-athlete who, as a result of a drug test administered by the NCAA, is found to have used a substance on the list of banned drugs shall be declared ineligible for further participation in regular-season and post-season competition during the time period ending one calendar year after the student-athlete’s positive drug test.

What is the process to become eligible to practice and compete?

In order to become eligible to practice and compete, you must:
a) Have a physical and be cleared to participate by the head athletic trainer;
b) Carry or be registered for 12 credit hours (or more);
c) Fill out all necessary NCAA-related paperwork provided by the compliance officer;
d) If you are a late addition to the roster, the head coach must fill out a roster add form first and turn it in to the compliance officer. The athlete then must complete the above requirements.

I was injured during the season; can I apply for a ‘Red Shirt’ or ‘Hardship Waiver’?

Division III does not have or grant ‘Red Shirt’ years. You can get a season back if granted a hardship waiver. A student-athlete my apply for a hardship waiver, and thereby be granted an additional year of eligibility, if the student-athlete had an injury or illness in the first half of the traditional season and competed in less than one third of the team’s schedule. If the student-athlete returns to competition after the first half of the traditional season, and is re-injured in the second half of the traditional season, the student-athlete is not eligible for a hardship waiver. To apply for a hardship waiver, the student must submit an application to the Compliance Officer.

I have heard about male practice players. What is this?

According to NCAA Bylaw 14.1.11, a male student who practices with a women's team is considered to be a student-athlete in that women's sport and is a male practice player. The male student-athlete must be certified as eligible under all applicable NCAA eligibility requirements to participate (e.g., the individual must be enrolled in a minimum full-time program of studies, sign a student-athlete statement and drug-testing consent form and have eligibility remaining under the 10-semester rule). The male student-athlete is subject to all other restrictions and/or benefits as authorized by NCAA legislation.

It is my off-season, as an athlete, what am I allowed to do? What can the coach require me to do?

During the off-season, a student-athlete is NOT required to participate in ‘athletically related activities’. It must be strictly voluntary. According to the NCAA manual, in order for any athletically related activity to be considered “voluntary,” all of the following conditions must be met: (a) The student-athlete must not be required to report back to a coach or other athletics department staff member (e.g., strength coach, trainer, manager) any information related to the activity. In addition, no athletics department staff member who observes the activity (e.g., strength coach, trainer, manager) may report back to the student-athlete’s coach any information related to the activity;
(b) The activity must be initiated solely by the student-athlete. Neither the institution nor any athletics department staff member may require the student-athlete to participate in the activity at any time;
(c) The student-athlete’s attendance and participation in the activity (or lack thereof) may not be recorded for the purposes of reporting such information to coaching staff members or other student-athletes; and
(d) The student-athlete may not be subjected to penalty if he or she elects not to participate in the activity. In addition, neither the institution nor any athletics department staff member may provide recognition or incentives (e.g., awards) to a student-athlete based on his or her attendance or performance in the activity.

The NCAA manual defines ‘athletically related activities’ as the following:
(a) Practice, which is defined as any meeting, activity or instruction involving sports-related information and having an athletics purpose, held for one or more student-athletes at the direction of, or supervised by, any member or members of an institution’s coaching staff. Practice is considered to have occurred if one or more coaches and one or more student-athletes engage in any of the following activities:
(1) Field, floor or on-court activity;
(2) Setting up offensive or defensive alignment;
(3) Chalk talk;
(4) Lecture on or discussion of strategy related to the sport;
(5) Activities using equipment related to the sport;
(6) Discussions or review of game films, motion pictures or videotapes related to the sport;
(7) Any other athletically related activity.

(b) Competition;
(c) Required weight-training and conditioning activities held at the direction of or supervised by an institutional staff member;
(d) Participation in a physical-fitness class (including a summer class) conducted by a member of the athletics staff not listed in the institution’s catalog and not open to all students. Such a class may not include practice activities conducted under the guise of physical education class work;
(e) Required participation in camps, clinics or workshops;
(f) Individual workouts required or supervised by a member of the coaching staff. A coach may design a voluntary general individual-workout program for a student-athlete (as opposed to a specific workout program for specific days) but cannot conduct the individual’s workout;
(g) On-court or on-field activities called by any member(s) of a team and confined primarily to members of that team that are considered requisite for participation in that sport (e.g., captain’s practices); (h) Visiting the competition site in cross country, golf and skiing;
(i) Reservation or use of an institution’s athletics facilities when such activities are supervised by or held at the direction of any member of an institution’s coaching staff;
(j) Involvement of an institution’s strength and conditioning staff with enrolled student-athletes in required conditioning programs; and
(k) Observation by an institution’s coaching staff member of enrolled student-athletes in non-organized sport-specific activities (e.g., “pick-up games”).

Exceptions. The following activities shall not be considered athletically related:
(a) Administrative and academic activities that are non-athletics in nature (e.g., academic meetings and compliance meetings);
(b) Fundraising and community service activities not involving the use of athletics ability by student-athletes to obtain funds provided the activities receive approval from the institution’s chancellor or president (or his or her designee) prior to the activity
(c) Observation of an officiating clinic related to playing rules that is conducted by video conference and does not require student-athletes to miss any class time to observe the clinic;
(d) Observation of enrolled student-athletes in organized competition (e.g., summer league), provided institutional athletics personnel do not direct or supervise the organized activity; and
(e) Voluntary individual workouts monitored for safety purposes by strength and conditioning personnel. If the strength and conditioning coach is also a coaching staff member for one of the institution’s intercollegiate teams, the monitoring may occur only if that staff member performs monitoring duties for all student-athletes using the facility at that time.

So, after reading all of this, what does it mean I can do?

As an out of season student-athlete, you may work out on your own; get your team together and workout as a group. Your coach may give you workouts to do, but you are not required to report back to the coach on what you or your teammates have or have not completed. Coaches may not ask what you are running, how much you are lifting, etc. Your coach(es) may not be present to watch, participate in, or monitor these off season practices.

The NCAA does not allow Division III student-athletes to receive “extra benefits” because they happen to participate on an athletic team. What is a non-permissible “extra benefit”?

An extra benefit includes any special arrangement by a Springfield College employee or booster to provide student-athletes, their relatives or friends, a benefit not expressly authorized by the NCAA. Examples of impermissible extra benefits include, but are not limited to:
a) Gifts or loans of clothing, stereo equipment, compact discs, food, beverages
b) Transportation
c) Use of an automobile
d) Low interest or interest-free loans, telephone cards, credit cards, charge accounts, etc.
e) Gifts of more than the allowable number of complimentary admissions
f) Special discounts on products or services
g) Special payment arrangements on personal purchases
h) Material benefits that are not available to the general student body

As a host for prospective students-athletes, what are you allowed to do? Not allowed to do?

Remember you are an ambassador for the athletics department. Your actions should reflect positively on your team, the athletic department and Springfield College.
a) You are responsible for keeping your prospect on time for all appointments. You must attend all functions with your prospect unless excused by your coach.
b) Individuals involved in the recruit’s visit will act in a responsible manner and are expected to abide by the law. (Do not take an underage prospect to a bar or club which allows admittance only to those 21 years of age or older).
c) The use of alcohol, drugs, sex or any illegal activity in recruiting will not be tolerated and will result in disciplinary action.
d) NCAA rules must be abided by in all situations.
e) Never leave a recruit alone with a non-team member. Do not set up dates for the recruit.
f) Have a plan for entertaining the recruit and review with your head coach. Advise the head coach in advance of any changes to the plan.
g) If your prospect acts in a manner detrimental to Springfield College, report this to your head coach immediately.
If you have any questions about your responsibilities as a prospect host/hostess, please do not hesitate to contact your coach or the compliance officer.

What is the NCAA rule regarding texting, twittering, social network sites and chat rooms?

You may send and receive text messages. You should NOT receive twitters or ‘be friended’ on social networking sites from coaches, current student-athletes or boosters at Springfield.

Can current student-athletes help recruit athletes from their home areas?

Yes. Please let your coach know about possible student-athletes from your area. This can be very helpful. If there is not a pre-existing friendship with these prospects, you need to be careful that you do not break any NCAA recruiting rules. Please see your coach for details about this.

If I would like to transfer from Springfield, how do I do it?

To look into transferring to another Division III school, fill out the NCAA self-release form (located on ncaa.org, found by clicking on forms). Once this form has been completed and you have sent it to the other school(s), you are free to contact the coach at the new school(s). This release is good for 30 days. During this 30-day period, your Springfield coach will not know about your possible transfer unless you tell them. After the 30-day period, the school(s) you have sent a release to can contact Springfield regarding your transfer status. You can sign a second release to extend the time for an additional 30 days, if needed. You are highly encouraged to talk to your Springfield coach about a possible transfer.

If you are looking to transfer (and play) at a Division I or II school, you must contact the Springfield College compliance officer to send out a release.

If I think any NCAA rules have been broken, what do I do?

Contact the compliance officer immediately.

If I have other questions about NCAA rules and compliance, whom can I contact?

The information contained in this list of frequently asked questions does not represent every possibility or situation. If you have any questions regarding prospects, student-athletes, or NCAA rules and regulations, please contact the compliance officer, Kiki Jacobs (kjacobs@spfldcol.edu).
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