June 17, 2014 - by

November 1999

The Interpreter, FSU Office of Compliance

Interpreter Archives

Tennessee Tutors Give A New Meaning To The Name “Volunteers”

ESPN reported that they obtained internal documents showing that high-level Administrators at the University of Tennessee, were alerted to situations in which four tutors may have written papers and completed school work for at least five football players. If true, this would be in possible violation of the University of Tennessee honor code and NCAA rules.

Despite being aware of the aforementioned situation, none of the information was passed on to the proper campus authorities charged with investigating possible rules infractions. Further, Tennessee waited until September 25 – after learning that ESPN was about to air it’s report on the matter, and after the September 18 Florida game – to notify the Southeastern Conference of it’s probe and rule ineligible four current players cited in the memos (the players were subsequently reinstated one week later).

This possible cover-up could present problems for Tennessee, even if none of the allegations are proven to be true. The NCAA encourages schools to declare student-athletes ineligible as soon as it first learns of information involving possible rules violations (until a preliminary ruling by the school can determine whether rules appear to have been violated).

These events present the possibility of a lack of institutional control at Tennessee. To make matters worse, the men’s athletic department does not report to any official on the University of Tennessee campus. This arrangement has served to insulate men’s athletics from campus authority and appears to represent a lack of checks and balances.

Documents showing allegations of academic fraud go back to 1995, when professors in the English and Religious Studies departments separately discovered papers turned in by players who did not do the work. The most serious charges were brought by Linda Bensel-Meyers, director for composition in the English department, who threatened to bring up charges of “institutional plagiarism” against the athletics department, unless the English department was given greater oversight of tutors. Bensel-Meyers pursued the issue again in February, when the latest pattern of alleged abuse was discovered.

In the first move of what may later develop into a broader effort to gain faculty control over the university’s athletics, campus administrators revoked the athletic department’s ability to hold on-site English classes. These classes paired freshman athletes with tutors.

Unfortunately for the long-term health of Tennessee athletics, University of Tennessee President J. Wade Gilley has consistently downplayed the aforementioned concerns as “rumors and allegations”. Further, less than a week after ESPN’s initial report, and before several key figures were formally interviewed, Gilley announced that there was no wrongdoing by current football players and that there would be “no NCAA investigation” into the program.

Signing Prospects

It’s that time of the year again . . . National Letter of Intent time! That’s right, we’re quickly approaching early signing period (Nov. 8 – 11). With this in mind, let us take the opportunity to further acquaint our coaches with the “do’s and don’ts” associated with the early signing period.

NCAA Bylaw states that the National Letter of Intent (and the accompanying Grant-In-Aid) may be delivered by express mail, courier service, regular mail or facsimile machine (i.e., no personal delivery). Subsequent to the calendar day on which the prospect signs the NLI, NCAA Bylaw states that there will be no limit to the number of telephone calls by the institution with which the prospect has signed.

Further, NCAA Bylaw states that there shall be no limit to the number of contacts by the institution. However, the following conditions continue to apply: (a) No contact may be made during a “dead period” (b) Any contact at the prospect’s educational institution in Division I football and basketball shall be confined to the permissible contact period and shall not exceed one visit per week (c) Contact at the site of a prospect’s competition shall continue to be governed by the provisions of, except that contact with the prospect’s relatives or legal guardians at the site of the prospect’s competition shall be permitted.

NCAA Bylaw 13.11.8 states that communications of any signing are limited to those media forms normally used by the institution. And in conclusion, it is important to remember that all signees remain prospects until the first day of practice or the first day of classes, whichever comes first.

From the Interpretation File


Occasional Meals:

A student-athlete or the entire team in a sport may receive an occasional family home meal from an institutional staff member or representative of athletics interests under the following conditions:

(a) The meal must be provided in an individual’s home (as opposed to a restaurant) and may be

(b) Meals must be restricted to infrequent and special occasions.

(b) Institutional staff members and representatives of the institution’s athletics interests may provide
reasonable transportation to attend the meal function.

In the News . . .

Virginia Loses Scholarship:

The NCAA Committee on Infractions has found the University of Virginia in violation of NCAA bylaws. The violations involved improper recruiting inducements to a prospective men’s basketball student-athlete. The inducements were made by members of the men’s basketball coaching staff and representatives of the university’s athletics interests.

The NCAA determined that the violations were secondary in nature. The violations involved only one prospective student-athlete and resulted in a limited recruiting advantage, since they occurred after the prospect had signed a National Letter of Intent with the University. Among the penalties handed down by the NCAA was a public reprimand and a reduction in the number of grants-in-aids for the men’s basketball program by one for the 2000-01 academic year.

Colorado Q.B. Suspended:

Colorado quarterback Taylor Barton inadvertently committed an NCAA violation when contacting recruits. Mr. Barton was attempting to keep the recruits interested in Colorado University after coach Rick Neuheisel left the program but before Gary Barnett arrived as head coach. As a result, Barton received a one-game suspension for his actions.

NCAA Bylaw states that student-athletes may not make telephone calls to prospects at the direction of a coaching staff member or representative of an institution’s athletic interests. Further, an institution may not finance any such calls.

Missouri Players Eligible:

The NCAA recently declared two Missouri basketball recruits eligible to play at the school after investigating whether it broke any rules over the players’ mothers accompanying them on a campus visit. Originally, the mothers of the prospects paid the university between $200 and $300 each for their tickets prior to flying from Detroit to Columbia Regional Airport.

Missouri mistakenly believed that the prospects were allowed to be accompanied by their parents on a noncommercial flight if the extra party paid fair market value for the ticket. However, NCAA rules prohibit another party from accompanying a prospect on a non-commercial flight. The players were reinstated conditioned upon additional remuneration by the prospect’s parents to further account for a portion of the charter flight costs.

Important Reminders:

1) Renewal/Non-Renewals will be sent to all coaches on November 1st. More details coming soon
in a memo near you!

2) Head Coaches must apply for any holiday break allowances for their student-athletes by the week
of November 4th!

3) All recruiting logs and monthly calendars are due in the Compliance Office by November 1st!


Former Compliance Graduate Assistant Xiamara Disla has accepted a job as Compliance Liaison at Temple University, in Philadelphia, PA. “Z”, as she is fondly called, has served three years of hard time in FSU’s Compliance Office under the tutelage of Bob Minnix. When asked to comment on her readiness for a full-time compliance position, Z proclaimed “I’m a compliance soldier! Mr. Minnix has prepared me for this day for the last three years! It’s a compliance war out there, and I’m ready to serve my school!”

Recruiting Calendar (November)

Men’s Basketball

Nov. 1 – Nov. 17………..Quiet Period

Nov. 18 – Nov. 30…Evaluation Period

Women’s Basketball

Nov. 1 – Nov. 30…..Evaluation period


Nov. 1 – Nov. 30………….Quiet Period


Nov. 1 – Nov. 24….Cont./Eval. Period

Nov. 25 – Nov. 30………..Quiet Period

All Early Signing Period Sports

Nov. 8 – Nov. 11……DEAD PERIOD

Compliance Staff

Mr. Bob Minnix

Associate Athletic

Director for Compliance and Legal Affairs

Ms. Pennie Parker

Director of Compliance Services

Mr. Brian Battle

Compliance Coordinator

The Interpreter is published by R.J. Gonser. All comments should be directed to The Interpreter, P.O. Drawer 2195, Tallahassee, FL 32316, phone (850) 644-0963, or by e-mail at: rgonser@mail.law.fsu.edu

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