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NCAA Compliance Information

Dear Faculty and Staff,

This email is being provided as a brief overview of NCAA compliance issues which many of you may encounter in your respective roles at the University of Utah. We ask that you read the information below and call the Office of Athletics Compliance with any questions or concerns.


What is the Office of Athletics Compliance?

The University of Utah is a member of the Pacific-12 Conference (Pac-12) and the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA). As an institution, we must comply with numerous rules and regulations and the Office of Athletics Compliance helps faculty, staff and the athletics department by interpreting NCAA rules. The office also serves as a liaison between the university and the Pac-12 and the NCAA. The Office of Athletics Compliance is responsible for educating, monitoring and enforcing NCAA and Pac-12 rules and regulations.


May faculty or staff members give student-athletes “extra benefits”?

No, extra benefits are impermissible. The NCAA defines an extra benefit as any special arrangement by an institutional employee or booster to provide a student-athlete a benefit not expressly authorized by NCAA legislation. Essentially, if a benefit is not available to all students, it cannot be given to a student-athlete.

Examples of extra benefits:

Permit a procedure not generally available to all students
(e.g., retake exam or do extra work for extra credit).
Preferential grading for student-athletes.
The use of a copying machine or typing services which are not available to the general student body.
Give or loan cash; sign or cosign for a loan.
Offer any gift (e.g. birthday/holiday gift).
Provide use of an automobile.
Provide free or reduced rent or housing.


Is allowing a student-athlete to make up work for missed class-time an extra benefit?

No, if the missed class falls within the recommended guidelines of University policy (Part 6, Policy 6-100, Section III, Letter O of the University Policy and Procedures Manual), which permits student-athletes to miss class for competition or for travel associated with competition. Missed classes for practices, team meetings, or individual meetings with coaches are not allowed.


How will an instructor know whether a student-athlete is missing for a sponsored event or is just not coming to class?

At the beginning of each semester, student-athletes are provided an Intercollegiate Athletics Team Travel Letter that includes all potential travel dates and times for that semester. It is the student-athlete’s responsibility to submit the letter to each instructor.


What should you do if you suspect that a violation of NCAA rules has occurred?

The institution affirms that all athletics department staff members, student-athletes, and university employees are obligated to report any violation or possible violation of which they are aware. Any individual may report the alleged, rumored or suspected violation verbally or in writing, and it may be reported anonymously. Alleged violations may be reported to any or all of the following individuals:

The Director of Intercollegiate Athletics;
The Assistant A.D. for Compliance; or
The Faculty Athletics Representative.


What is the role of the Faculty Athletics Representative?

The Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR) is a tenured faculty member selected by the President to represent the university and its faculty in the university’s relationships with the NCAA and the Pac-12. Our FAR is Karen Paisley.


What is the Office of Academic Services for Student Athletes?

This is the unit within the Department of Athletics that offers a broad range of academic support to nearly 450 student-athletes participating in intercollegiate athletics here at the university. This office is committed to working with faculty, staff, and administrators on campus to ensure that student-athletes receive the appropriate support available to them. While it is important to emphasize that student-athletes should not be treated differently than other students, the NCAA requires that the institution monitor the academic progress of this student population in particular. As such, the Office of Academic Services hopes to establish and maintain an open line of communication with you.


Do student-athletes have to meet University of Utah academic standards?

Yes, student-athletes must be registered as full-time students and meet the same grade point average and graduation requirements as all other students do. In addition, student-athletes must meet additional requirements as established by the Pac-12 and the NCAA.


Must student-athletes make progress toward a degree while they are competing for the University of Utah?

Yes. According to NCAA rules, a student-athlete must be enrolled in a degree program that he or she can complete within five years of initial enrollment. During the first year, student-athletes must complete 12 units per semester at Utah. To continue to be eligible to compete, student-athletes must have completed the following:

Entering the second year, 24 degree applicable units;
Entering the third year, 49 degree applicable units;
Entering the fourth year, 74 degree applicable units; and
Entering the fifth year, 98 degree applicable units.

For a student-athlete to be eligible for athletics competition, they must complete 18 semester hours of academic credit since the beginning of the previous fall term or since the beginning of the preceding two regular semesters. Student-athletes must also earn at least six units in the previous term to be eligible to compete the next term (in the sport of football 9 units in the fall term to compete in all games the following fall term). Student-athletes are required to be enrolled in a minimum of 12 units to be eligible to compete and practice. If they drop below 12 units, they are immediately ineligible to practice or compete, and they risk losing their athletics scholarship.


Do all courses student-athletes take count toward a degree?

No. The same rules apply for student-athletes as apply to other students at the university. The following are the specific guidelines:

Remedial, tutorial, or non-credit coursework: After the first year of enrollment, a student-athlete may no longer use such units toward meeting degree requirements. Excessive “free electives” are not considered degree applicable units. If the units cannot be applied to the students declared or designated degree program, the units are not degree applicable units.

However, those units do count towards a student’s GPA requirement. Units that exceed a maximum limitation set by the college or department are not considered degree credits. Units that are in a minor or second major and that fall outside the degree requirements are not considered degree applicable units. (In some cases such units may fit into the “free elective” category.)


Who determines if a student-athlete is making progress toward a degree at the University?

The Office of the Registrar in conjunction with the Faculty Athletics Representative must certify each semester that a student-athlete is making progress in a degree program and can complete the program in five years.


Thank you for taking the time to review this information. If you ever have any compliance questions or issues you would like to discuss, feel free to call Kate Charipar, Assistant A.D. for Compliance at 801-585-1629.

Kate M. Charipar
Assistant Athletics Director for Compliance
University of Utah

1825 E. South Campus Dr. Front
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
801.585.1629 (office)
801.201.8680 (cell)
801.585.5023 (fax)