Jan. 12, 2004
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE –
A ruling by the NCAA Division I Management Council decision announced Sunday evening restored the eligibility of FSU basketball player Diego Romero.
During its meeting Sunday night in Nashville, the Division I Management Council determined that its endorsement of the effective date for the new amateurism standard for transfer student-athletes should be amended. The July 2002 directive from the management council stated any student-athlete who enrolled in an NCAA institution after August 1, 2003, and had signed a professional contract would fall under a new reinstatement standard. The management council determined the new standard, which makes student-athletes permanently ineligible to play a sport if they sign a professional contract that makes them a professional in that sport, unintentionally harmed transfer student-athletes by not applying the former standard for those student-athletes already enrolled at a collegiate institution before the effective date.
The new directive made it clear to the student-athlete reinstatement staff and committee that any student-athlete who is in conflict with the amateurism rules dealing with professionalizing themselves, and enrolled at an NCAA institution after the effective date, would be ineligible to play that sport. The new standard also alleviated the two-prong standard that was previously applied to student-athletes seeking reinstatement. By amending the directive, student-athletes who enrolled at any college prior to August 1, 2003, will be evaluated under the intent-to-professionalize standard which was previously used.
“If not for the combination of expertise, persistent effort and research of the part of Bob Minnix (FSU Associate Athletic Director for Compliance), I don’t know that we would have ever arrived at this ultimate outcome,” said Dave Hart, Director of Athletics at Florida State University. “Certainly, the decision to restore eligibility is in the best interest of fairness and student-athlete welfare.
“This decision reinforces my faith in people doing what is right once the facts are understood. This is what the Management Council did and we are certainly appreciative of their actions. This is an uplifting day.”
“This was a student-athlete welfare issue that everyone agreed needed to be changed to ensure proper relief is granted to student-athletes who were already in the system,” said Chris Plonsky, chair of the Division I Management Council. “In all of the Association’s rules applications, we want to be fair, and this was surely the right thing to do. It is also important to emphasize however, that the stricter standard adopted in July 2002 still applies and is the standard our student-athlete reinstatement staff and committee will use when determining if a student-athlete should be reinstated.”
“This is an excellent example of NCAA staff and committees demonstrating a level of flexibility and fairness to benefit student-athletes,” said Myles Brand, NCAA president. “When issues such as this arise, the national office staff is committed to continuing to take a proactive approach to keep the best interest of paramount student-athletes.”