Overview

Rules Education
A comprehensive rules education program has been implemented to provide all coaches, student-athletes, department of athletics staff members and other representatives of the university with a working knowledge of NCAA, affiliated conference, and University of Massachusetts rules, regulations, policies and procedures.

Education is the foundation of the compliance program and all individuals who are in any way related to the department of athletics and its members must be kept up to date and continue to be updated on current regulations of all NCAA rules and bylaws. With this in mind, a regular progressive program of compliance education is considered to be an integral and required part of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.

The Associate Director of Athletics for Compliance shall administer, with assistance from the Assistant Director of Athletics for Compliance, all NCAA and A10 Conference rules and regulations. The Associate AD reports directly to the Director of Athletics.

The Assistant Director of Athletics for Compliance and/or the Associate AD for Compliance are the individuals authorized to make calls to the NCAA and A10 Conference offices for official interpretations and clarifications. Coaches are not authorized to make such calls.

Compliance Policy

Each head coach is issued an NCAA manual and must take responsibility for compliance issues related to his/her staff and student-athletes. The manual should be studied thoroughly.

Coaches are encouraged to ask questions of the Assistant Director of Athletics for Compliance, Associate Director of Athletics for Compliance, or Director of Athletics. If the Faculty Athletics Representative is to be involved in policy questions, it should be done through those listed above, not through a coach. In general, when in doubt, coaches and staff should check before acting.  It is department policy to adhere to all applicable rules and regulations.  Should a violation occur, it is department policy to report the occurrence to the Director of Athletics, Executive Associate Director of Athletics, Senior Woman Administrator, or Associate Director of Athletics for Compliance for appropriate self-report action. Violations of the rules will not be tolerated in any form. Ignorance of the rules is not an acceptable excuse.

Should a self-report of a major violation be necessary, the Intercollegiate Athletics Compliance Committee, made up of the Director of Athletics, Executive Associate Director of Athletics, Associate Director of Athletics for Academic Services, Faculty Athletic Representative, Associate Director of Athletics for Compliance, Admissions liaison, Financial Aid liaison, and Registrar’s liaison, shall take action to report to the A10 or CAA Conferences and the NCAA and to administer any necessary disciplinary action.
Coaches and Departmental Staff

As an aspect of the University of Massachusetts’ philosophy, coaches are held accountable for their own behavior and the behavior of those who they supervise.  Providing proper education and knowledge of rules to the coaches is essential to this philosophy.  NCAA rules are complex and change often, therefore, rules education is necessary for the coaches.  Knowledge of these current rules will help prevent inadvertent violations.  Coaches also have opportunity to educate parents of their student-athletes or prospective student-athletes; media and other community individuals and they must be educated in rules that affect these various groups of people.

Coaches and appropriate departmental staff members attend required monthly compliance meetings during the academic year, where topics include, but are not limited to practice and playing seasons, recruiting, eligibility, legislative updates, extra benefits, and personnel.  All coaches and departmental staff, along with select members of the campus community, receive Compliance Newsletters via email each month.  All departmental staff members and coaches are encouraged to “ask before they act”, by emailing, calling, or in-person meetings with the compliance staff when questions arise.

All departmental staff members, coaches, and student-athletes receive emails and notices relating to the NCAA’s prohibition against gambling once per year.

All newly hired coaches and staff members are required to attend a rules orientation meeting. This extensive meeting is organized and conducted by the Office of Compliance and covers a variety of topics which are important to the smooth operation of the department of athletics.  These topics include such items as tickets, recruiting, financial aid, academics, and other compliance related required forms.

Regional NCAA Officiating meetings / videos are required for Men's and Women's Basketball and Baseball coaches each year.

All coaches are required to pass the annual NCAA recruiting certification test before they are allowed to recruit off-campus. Review sessions for this exam are given three times per year.  The Athletics Compliance Office produces and e-mails all Athletics Department staff members the monthly Between The Lines, produced September May of each academic year.  General compliance education from the conference office or NCAA office is distributed via electronic mail, and compliance materials available in print form are delivered to athletics staff mailboxes as needed.

During the  academic year (September to  May) monthly compliance meetings with  mandatory attendance for all athletic department staff are conducted by the CO at which time NCAA rules education is provided in addition to guest speakers (e.g., Admissions, Student Judicial Services, UMass Housing Programs) who provide the Athletics staff with information on University policies.  Applicable legislative proposals are forwarded to the entire Athletics Department to solicit their input on such proposals. These opinions are shared with the Faculty Athletics Representative and Chancellor (if needed) and are ultimately voted on by the Athletics Director.

Campus Offices

Offices across campus with responsibilities that pertain to athletics include Admissions, Financial Aid, Bursars, Registrar, and the Office of News and Information.  Although NCAA rules and regulations are not the primary concern of these offices, a good working knowledge of NCAA rules is vital. It is important for the Department of Athletics to take responsibility for keeping the employees in each of these offices up-to-date on all NCAA rules which govern their respective areas. Each office receives a copy of the NCAA Manual (along with the link to the on-line version) each year, along with a copy of the UMass Athletics Policies and Procedures and Compliance Manuals.

Selected members from these offices are encouraged to attend the NCAA Regional Rules Seminars, held annually. When these seminars are available within a “driving” distance, all staff members with NCAA compliance-related duties are expected to attend.

Each office meets periodically with the compliance staff, covering a wide variety of general topics most often focused on new legislation. In addition, if issues or questions arise they are resolved with personal meetings with key individuals.

Representatives of Athletics Interests

The University of Massachusetts is accountable for all actions taken by boosters and other representatives of Athletics interests. As such, these individuals require rules education regarding what they can and cannot do for student-athletes and prospects.

During the fall semester, all Minutemen Club members and current student-athletes parent receive the "Minuteman Fan Guide (also available via website) that outlines the appropriate avenues by which they can show their support for UMass athletics.

Each week a compliance article appears in the Minutemen Club newsletter, sent via electronic mail to all Club members to educate and remind them of rules related to their interaction with both prospective and enrolled student-athletes.

Prospective Student-Athletes

It is the obligation of the university to help educate the prospective student-athletes and their families to the NCAA rules and regulations as they pertain to recruiting, financial aid, and eligibility.  The office of compliance distributes the link to the NCAA Guide for College-Bound Student-Athletes as well as other publications geared toward prospective student-athletes. In addition, a link is provided on the UMass athletics website to materials for prospects, including APR and graduation rates, initial eligibility requirements, and pre-enrollment information. Students who appear on coaches’ initial rosters receive this information via general correspondence.

The Assistant Director of Athletics for Compliance speaks at high school booster clubs, college days, and with guidance counselors whenever asked by local schools. Such topics include core course requirements and recruiting guidelines. An opportunity for questions is given to those in attendance.

Each prospective student-athletes’ high school transcript is reviewed by the Office of Compliance to ensure compliance with core-course, GPA, and test score requirements. These worksheets are shared with the coaches who in turn communicate with the prospect regarding their initial eligibility status.

Current Student-Athletes

Educating current student-athletes as to the rules and regulations is of utmost importance and is a process that must be ongoing. Although the institution has a great deal of accountability toward student-athletes, the responsibility for insuring their eligibility rests with the student-athletes. They must be educated and given the tools and the knowledge to make wise decisions. This education begins during new student orientation, when the prospects and their families meet with a student-athlete academic advisor.

Before the first practice opportunity of the season, a meeting is organized and conducted by the Office of Compliance for each individual team and its coaches. The meeting covers a wide variety of items, including ethical conduct, amateurism, playing and practice seasons, academic standards, eligibility, drug testing, publicity, and employment. The Associate Director of Athletics is also in attendance to present information regarding physical exams, insurance, and athletic training room policies and procedures. The student-athletes in attendance sign the required NCAA and UMass documents.

Prior to the end of the first academic term all student-athletes receive a compliance newsletter.

Seminars are held throughout the academic year on a variety of topics, including time management, resume writing, and academic topics relevant to college students.

At the end of each academic year, the Compliance Office meets with all team members to discuss the summer newsletter and NCAA rules and regulations governing summer activities. All senior student-athletes who have exhausted their eligibility are required to complete the exit interview.

 
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