Compliance Question of the Week

For the week of: April 12, 2010

A student athlete in his fourth year at LMU has received four years of athletics aid and has used three seasons of eligibility; thus, he has one more year of eligibility remaining. He wishes to return to school to complete his undergraduate degree but he no longer wants to be on the roster. He is debating whether to serve as a manager for the team or completely focus on his school work. We do not want to renew his scholarship, what are our options?

Question 1:
The coaches do not wish to renew the student-athlete's scholarship for the 2010-11 academic year because he will not be on the team. However, the student-athlete is interested in coaching and therefore, the coaching staff was thinking they could make him a manager next year. If he receives need-based aid and earns a scholarship from the institution (non-athletics aid), will he still be a counter for that sport?

Question 2:
The student-athlete wishes to return in the 2010 fall semester to complete the necessary credit to graduate. He wishes to continue to receive his financial aid but does not wish participate in his sport. He does not wish to be a manager and strictly wants to finish school. What options do we have to reduce the affect this student-athlete will have on the head count?

Answer 1:
First, the athletics department will not be renewing the student-athletes athletic aid for 2010-11, therefore a non-renewal letter must be sent to the student-athlete. Per NCAA Bylaw, a hearing opportunity must be given to the student-athlete. If the student-athlete does not wish to appeal the non-renewal, no further action is necessary.

The WCC confirmed that the student athlete will not be a counter provided he is:
  • Not competing and removed from the roster,
  • Not on athletic aid, and
  • Does not receive institutional aid due to athletic intervention on his behalf.
Therefore, if the student-athlete applies for need-based aid and any other type of institutional aid, the athletics department must not intercede on his behalf in order for this aid to NOT count towards the team's scholarship limitation during the 2010-11 academic year. The student-athlete will graduate with his baccalaureate degree at the conclusion of spring 2010. At this time, I do not think he will qualify for any type of academic scholarship because his GPA is on the low-side. However, he will have to secure his own aid and there are other options in which he may pursue:
  • He may become a Resident Assistant (RA) in one of the dorms on campus. RAs receive free room and board, which would definitely benefit him next year. Such a position is considered employment and not a scholarship. Thus, this would not be considered athletics aid and will not count towards the sport scholarship limitation.
  • He may be paid by the athletics department for his work as a manager. This is for work actually performed and it does not count as athletics aid.
  • He may receive need-based aid and it will not count as athletics aid as long as the athletics department does not intercede (i.e., call financial aid, write a letter for him, etc.) on his behalf
Answer 2:
The coaching staff has two options. First, we may provide the student-athlete with athletics financial aid during his last academic year, thus allowing him to graduate within five years. This would count towards the sport scholarship limitation even though he would not be on the roster and participating in practice and competitions. Although the scholarship would be taken out of the team budget and no athletic advantage is gained for that year, this action will benefit the institution provided he graduates. Our goal is to graduate all of our student-athletes. This student-athlete's graduation reflects positively on the University and the Athletic Department's APR, Graduate Success Rates (GSR) and Federal Graduation Rate data. When such rates are high, LMU is afforded future opportunities financially and competitively (i.e., recruit higher quality perspective student athletes).

The second alternative is to non-renew the student-athlete's scholarship for the following academic year. As aforementioned in answer #1, a non-renewal letter must be sent to the student-athlete and a hearing opportunity must be made available. If the decision to non-renew the aid is upheld or not challenged by the student-athlete, he would be forced to pursue his own form of aid to complete his graduation. Another possible outcome is the student-athlete would not return to graduate. This would clearly be a poor reflection on the University and the Athletics Department's APR, GSR and Federal Graduation data.

15.01.5 Eligibility of Student-Athletes for Institutional Financial Aid.
A student-athlete must meet applicable NCAA (see Bylaw 14), conference and institutional regulations to be eligible for institutional financial aid. If these regulations are met, the student-athlete may be awarded institutional financial aid during any term in which a student-athlete is in regular attendance [was enrolled initially in a minimum full-time program of studies as defined by the certifying institution during that term (see Bylaw for final term exception and Bylaw 15.2.8 for summer-term exception)] under the following circumstances: (Revised: 6/8/99)

    (a) The student-athlete is an undergraduate with eligibility remaining under Bylaw 14.2 (five-year rule);
    (b) The student-athlete is a graduate student eligible under Bylaw 14.1.9;
    (c) Within six years after initial enrollment in a collegiate institution (provided the student does not receive such aid for more than five years during that period); however, after the six-year period expires, this restriction shall apply only to unearned athletics aid for which the athletics department intercedes on behalf of the student-athlete; or
    (d) The student-athlete receives a degree-completion award from the NCAA. (Adopted: 1/8/07 effective 8/1/07)
[Note: See Bylaw for the financial aid implications in the prohibition against contacting student-athletes of another four-year collegiate institution without permission of that institution's athletics director. See Bylaw for financial aid implications related to the academic eligibility of four-year college transfers.] (Revised: 1/9/06 effective 8/1/07)

11.01.6 Manager.
A manager is an individual who performs traditional managerial duties (e.g., equipment, laundry, hydration) and meets the following additional criteria: (Adopted: 1/16/10 effective 8/1/10)

    (a) The individual shall be a full-time undergraduate or graduate student (see Bylaws and, except that during his or her final semester or quarter of a degree program, he or she may be enrolled in less than a full-time program of studies, provided he or she is carrying (for credit) the courses necessary to complete the degree requirements;
    (b) The individual may participate in limited on-court or on-field activities during practice (e.g., assist with drills, throw batting practice) or competition (e.g., assist with warm-up activities) involving student-athletes on a regular basis;
    (c) The individual shall not provide instruction to student-athletes; and
    (d) The individual shall not participate in countable athletically related activities (e.g., practice player) except as permitted by Bylaw 11.01.6-b. Hearing Opportunity.
The institution's regular financial aid authority shall notify the student-athlete in writing of the opportunity for a hearing when institutional financial aid based in any degree on athletics ability is to be reduced or canceled during the period of the award, or is reduced or not renewed for the following academic year. The institution shall have established reasonable procedures for promptly hearing such a request and shall not delegate the responsibility for conducting the hearing to the university's athletics department or its faculty athletics committee. The written notification of the opportunity for a hearing shall include a copy of the institution's established policies and procedures for conducting the required hearing, including the deadline by which a student-athlete must request such a hearing. (Revised: 1/9/06 effective 8/1/06, 4/3/07, 4/23/08) Aid Not Renewed, Successful Appeal.
If an institution does not renew financial aid for a counter in a following year, and a hearing before the institution's regular financial aid authority results in a successful appeal for restoration of aid, the student-athlete shall continue to be a counter if the individual continues to receive athletically related financial aid. However, the student-athlete shall not be a counter if he or she receives institutionally arranged or awarded, nonathletically related financial aid available to all students, provided such financial aid was granted or arranged without regard in any degree to athletics ability. If the student-athlete ever participates again in intercollegiate athletics at that institution, he or she will be considered to have been a counter during each year the financial aid was received.

Relevant Legislation:
  • NCAA Bylaw
  • NCAA Proposal 2009-14-A Managerial Duties
  • NCAA Interpretation 11/18/87 Sources of Financial Aid
  • NCAA Interpretation 9/14/88 Annual Aid and Counter Status

O.I. 601 applied on a yearly basis
Date Published: September 14, 1988
Item Ref: c
Interpretation: Staff Interpretation

c. O.I. 601 Applied on a Yearly Basis: Determined that the provisions of O.I. 601 (recruited player not countable until player engages in varsity competition) should be applied on a year-to-year basis; accordingly, a student-athlete who initially was countable per Bylaw 6-3 (countable players) and O.I. 601 during an academic year, but who decided not to engage in varsity intercollegiate competition during the subsequent academic year, would not be countable toward the institution's maximum awards limitation in that sport that academic year (see 11/18/87 LIC, Item No. 12).

Title: Change in source of financial aid from one year to the next
Date Published: November 18, 1987
Type: Official Interpretation
Item Ref: 12

Reviewed and confirmed that the provisions of Bylaws 6-3-(a) and (b) [countable players] and O.I. 601 require that an institution count toward its maximum awards limitations those student-athletes receiving O.I. 600 aid from the athletics department or aid for which the athletics department interceded on behalf of the recipient, regardless of whether the student-athlete engages in intercollegiate competition, except as noted in Case No. 368 when the student-athlete's eligibility is exhausted; confirmed that the provisions of O.I. 601 indicate that a recruited player receiving financial aid set forth in O.I. 600 granted without regard in any degree to athletic ability would "count" against the institution's maximum awards limitations once the player engages in varsity intercollegiate competition; noted, however, that this legislation would not require an institution to continue to "count" toward its maximum awards limitations a student-athlete who initially was countable per O.I. 601, but for whom the institution can document a change in the source of the financial aid from one year to the next; agreed that if the source of financial aid changes, a student-athlete who was "countable" one academic year may be considered an exempted player, provided the provisions of O.I. 601 and Bylaw 6-4 are satisfied; recommended that the Council amend O.I. 601 to indicate that the statement of the admissions officer that the student's admission and financial aid were granted without regard in any degree to athletic ability would apply only to the student-athlete's initial year of residence, and subsequent certification statements would relate only to the administration of financial aid for the particular academic year involved.


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