5/8 Rule Modified

Not sure exactly what this means to Cal State Fullerton's basketball program but it's a step in the right direction. Instead of eight, the rule will allow for nine. Student-athletes leaving school before using all their eligibility, for whatever reason, who are in good academic standing (i.e., on schedule to graduate within five years) will not count in these totals.


INDIANAPOLIS---The NCAA Division I Management Council today agreed to recommend to the Division I Board of Directors a proposal that would modify its "5/8" bylaw. The rule has limited the number of initial grants that may be awarded to men's basketball players to eight in a consecutive two-year period, with no more than five initial grants in one of those two years.

The modification, which will be considered by the Division I Board of Directors on November 1, would allow institutions to award up to a total of nine initial grants during this academic year and 2002-03, with no more than five initial grants in one year. For example, those that awarded five this year would be allowed to award four for the 2002-03 year; those that awarded less than five initial grants this year could award up to five for 2002-03.

The "5/8" limit would resume in 2003-04 with one change. When the number of student-athletes who graduate in any given year combined with those who leave an institution early but who are on track to graduate within five years exceeds the number of initial grants provided during that same given year, the school would earn one additional initial grant. The additional grant must be used within the following two years. Overall men's basketball scholarship limits would remain at 13.

"This is a well-intentioned rule with unintended consequences. The Board has asked us to look at ways to provide universities with relief. We believe this modification does that," said Charles Harris, chair of the Management Council and commissioner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

The Council, meeting October 22 and 23, also sent to the Board a recommendation that would set reinstatement policy for the Division I Student-Athlete Reinstatement Subcommittee as it considers violations of bylaws for student-athletes who competed on a professional team prior to initial enrollment in an NCAA institution. The reinstatement condition would be to withhold a student-athlete from a maximum of 20 percent of contests or eight games. The recommendation was forwarded by the Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA) and primarily affects international basketball student-athletes who have participated in international leagues. The policy will be considered by the Board next week.

The Student-Athlete Reinstatement Subcommittee's long-standing directive states that student-athletes who participated in first-tier-level professional competition in a foreign country would be withheld from one intercollegiate game for each professional game played. Recently, the subcommittee modified the directive to specify that the reinstatement penalty for student-athletes who have participated in second-tier international competition be reduced to one game for every two professional games played. For those who participated in competition below the first and second tiers, the committee recommended a penalty of 10 percent of the intercollegiate season (three games).

In other action, the Council gave initial approval to new criteria for Division I-A membership. The proposal, which would be effective August 1, 2004, would require that a Division I-A member:

  • Provide an average of at least 90 percent of the permissible maximum number of football grants-in-aid per year over a rolling two-year period (the maximum annual allowance is currently 85; 90 percent would be 76.5).

  • Annually participate in a minimum of five regular-season home contests against Division I-A opponents.

  • Sponsor a minimum of 16 varsity sports, with a minimum of six varsity sports for men and a minimum of eight varsity sports for women.

  • Annually offer a minimum of 200 athletics grants-in-aid in all sports or expend at least $4 million on athletics grants-in-aid to student-athletes.

  • Annually demonstrate an average actual attendance of 15,000 for all home football games.

The Council also sent to the Board a set of recommendations related to men's basketball recruiting. The proposals would:

  • Strengthen the process for certifying summer basketball events, including a requirement for comprehensive educational and mentoring activities as well as disclosure of financial information about the sources of funds for the events and how they are allocated (01-51).

  • Alter the Division I men's basketball recruiting calendar to reflect a summer evaluation period of two 10-day periods separated by a four-day dead period (July 8 to 17 and July 22 to 31); to permit one telephone call to a prospect during the month of March of the junior year; to permit one recruiting contact with a prospect during the April contact period of his junior year, to be included in the five permissible recruiting opportunities; to allow official visits beginning January 1 of the junior year; to establish 40 as the number of evaluation days during the academic year; and to eliminate evaluations during the fall contact period except for activities at the prospect's educational institution (01-52, as amended).

  • Prohibit university staff members who are attending certified summer events from having contact with a prospect's coach or other individuals associated with the prospect. The proposal also prohibits unofficial visits during July (01-53).

  • Require Division I colleges and universities to publicly disclose information about the financial relationships among institutions, corporations and coaches of prospects. Institutions that do not disclose the information will not be permitted to participate in the July evaluation period (01-54).

  • Allow the restricted coach in men's and women's basketball to participate in off-campus recruiting during the summer evaluation period and academic year, without increasing the number of coaches who can recruit off campus at any one time (01-55).

In other action, the Management Council:

  • Approved a proposal that will be reviewed by the Division I Board of Directors that would establish additional criteria for certified events. Specifically, the proposal would prohibit certification of an event if it is conducted in a venue where sports wagering on intercollegiate athletics is permitted or on property sponsored by an establishment that permits sports wagering on college sports or is branded with signage for such an establishment.

  • Tabled consideration of a package of amateurism proposals related to pre-enrolled individuals until April 2002. The Board of Directors had requested that alternative packages containing various existing proposals be structured for review. Three alternatives have been created and circulated to Division I conferences for review. All included the organized competition rule (99-106-1).

    1. Package A includes proposals that would allow prospects to compete with professionals (99-109), sign a professional contract (99-108), enter a professional draft and be drafted (99-107), and the organized competition rule.

    2. Package B is the same as A but adds a proposal that would allow prospects to accept prize money based on place finish (99-110).

    3. Package C is the same as B but adds a proposal that would allow prospects to receive compensation for athletics participation (99-111).

  • Approved a recommendation that would extend voting privileges to student-athletes on some Division I and association-wide committees (01-57, 58).

  • Gave initial approval to proposals that would establish a transition period for new members to meet specified requirements to join Division I or for current NCAA members to reclassify to Division I. The proposal for new members would establish a seven-year provisional membership period that includes completion of specific requirements, such as satisfying sport sponsorship and financial aid requirements, participating in compliance seminars, and submitting and initiating a strategic plan that addresses Division I philosophy. The proposal for members to reclassify from Division II to Division I would establish a five-year process to become an active Division I member.

  • Gave initial approval to a proposal that would permit a basketball student-athlete to resume intercollegiate competition after declaring intent to return within 30 days of being drafted after entering a professional draft (01-87).

  • Initially approved a proposal that would amend the definition of a professional team to one that provides expenses above actual and necessary to any of its players (01-96). The Council also approved a proposal that specifies that an individual will not be eligible for intercollegiate competition if he or she ever competed on a professional team, regardless of knowledge that the team was professional (01-97).

  • Reinforced existing bylaws that encourage regional competition in championships in an effort to minimize travel for teams this fall. The Championships/Competition Cabinet said sports committees have authority to seed 25 percent of a bracket and should place remaining teams in geographic proximity to home and to avoid first-round match-ups between teams from the same conference. Those committees that have authority to avoid such match-ups during the first two rounds now are limited to avoiding such match-ups only during the first round for fall championships this year.

  • Sent a recommendation to the Board that would permit a Division I-A institution to be bowl-eligible with a winning percentage of .500 during 12-game seasons (01-90).

All Division I legislative proposals are available at NCAA Online, www.ncaa.org/databases/legislation/.

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