Aug
25

Become A Professional And Retain Student-Athlete Eligibility

A few days ago, I received an email from Anastasios “Tassos” Kaburakis, Ph.D., Attorney at Law and Assistant Professor of Sport Law and Sport Management/Director of Sport Management Graduate Program at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.  He wanted to share the announcement of NCAA Division I Proposal 2009-22.  The expectation is that the proposal will pass and go into effect on August 1, 2010.  Tassos calls the move a brilliant, inspired, an outstanding shift in policy, and a clear indication that knowledgeable members of governance bodies are indeed in touch with reality and in tune with the membership’s concerns.

But what exactly is the proposal?  It is posted in its entirety at the link above, and titled, AMATEURISM AND ELIGIBILITY — INVOLVEMENT WITH PROFESSIONAL TEAMS — EXCEPTION — PRIOR TO INITIAL FULL-TIME COLLEGIATE ENROLLMENT — DELAYED ENROLLMENT — SEASONS OF COMPETITION.  If adopted, it would allow prospective student-athletes to play a professional sport overseas upon graduating high school, and still retain the opportunity to play that sport for an NCAA institution later in life.  The caveat is that the athlete cannot receive more than the allowable actual and necessary expenses under 12.02.4 (a).

Actual and necessary expenses include,

  • Meals and lodging directly tied to competition or practice held in preparation for competition.
  • Apparel, equipment and supplies.
  • Coaching and instruction.
  • Health/medical insurance.
  • Transportation related to practice or competition.
  • Medical treatment and physical therapy.
  • Facility usage.
  • Entry fees.
  • Other reasonable expenses.

“Other reasonable expenses” seems quite broad, although things like out-of-season expenses (i.e. pre-training camp) are not considered actual & necessary expenses under this legislation.  And how would someone like Brandon Jennings justify that his on-the-books payment was an actual and necessary expense?  I doubt he could, and Jennings would not be the type of athlete able to become a student-athlete after playing a year overseas.

Definitely an interesting proposal.  I am very interested to see if any changes are made to it between now and its suggested adoption.