Tag:recruiting service
Posted on: June 21, 2011 1:49 pm
 

There's cause for concern in Oregon

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Drip, drip, drip.

That's generally how news comes out about NCAA investigations at schools and it appears Oregon fans are finding that out all too well this week. Monday night Oregon released several documents to the media as part of open records requests stemming from the NCAA's investigation into the scouting service run by Will Lyles. The biggest nugget to come out of the documents was the fact that the university paid $25,000 for a scouting report that was two years old.

Lyles' "2011 National Package" was full of recruits from the 2009 class and had, among the notable names, SMU's junior starting quarterback Kyle Padron. In fact, none of the 140 players in the booklet Oregon turned over were identified as recruits in the class of 2011. Lyles has been connected to current Oregon running backs LaMichael James and Lache Seastrunk and former running back Dontae Williams, all of whom are from Texas.

So what's next?

CBSSports.com Senior Writer Dennis Dodd, who is in Eugene this week, wrote Tuesday morning that it's hard for him to believe Oregon could be this dumb. After all, paying $25,000 for something that pales in comparison to any other national package and paying that amount for old and relatively useless information is something they can smell all the way in Indianapolis.

While most Oregon fans can admit that the entire episode seems shady, it's hard to see what NCAA bylaws the school broke in paying Lyles $25,000 for his recruiting service.

There are four main bylaws that govern scouting or recruiting services: 11.3.2.5 (school personnel can't consult or endorse services), 12.3.3.1 (services can distribute student-athletes information but can't be paid a fee based on placing them at a school), 13.1.7.20 (coaches can't watch off-campus video of athletes provided by services) and 13.14.3, which is the main definition of a recruiting or scouting service.

Oregon needs to be concerned about 12.3.3.1 and 13.14.3 (below):

An institution may subscribe to a recruiting or scouting service involving prospective student-athletes, provided the institution does not purchase more than one annual subscription to a particular service and the service: (Adopted: 1/1/02, Revised: 1/16/10)

(a) Is made available to all institutions desiring to subscribe and at the same fee rate for all subscribers;

(b) Publicly identifies all applicable rates;

(c) Disseminates information (e.g., reports, profiles) about prospective student-athletes at least four times per calendar year;

(d) Publicly identifies the geographical scope of the service (e.g., local, regional, national) and reflects broad-based coverage of the geographical area in the information it disseminates;

(e) Provides individual analysis beyond demographic information or rankings for each prospective student-athlete in the information it disseminates; (Revised: 4/13/10)

(f) Provides access to samples or previews of the information it disseminates before purchase of a subscription; and

(g) Provides video that is restricted to regularly scheduled (regular-season) high school, preparatory school or two-year college contests and for which the institution made no prior arrangements for recording. (Note: This provision is applicable only if the subscription includes video services.)


Based on the documents turned over to the media by Oregon, Lyles' service he provided the school fails to fit (c) and (d) because he did not distribute reports at least four times per year and his geographical scope does not fit the definition of a national package. The "National" package Lyles sent was supposed to contain information on 22 states yet only contained information from five states and all but five players were from the state of Texas. A national package it was not.

According to George Schroeder of the Register-Guard, the media requested the video Lyles sent along but a school spokesman said 'Lyles delivered some video, but said the school had difficulty retrieving the video from its computer system, or separating it from video gathered by other means.'

While it is difficult to predict what the NCAA enforcement staff will do, it's very possible they will declare this an impermissible recruiting service. The staff could then argue that the $25,000 was - in essence - a payoff for delivering players and a violation of bylaw 12.3.3.1. This would place the players eligibility in question as well and could result in victories being vacated for playing ineligible players. It would also mean Oregon committed a major violation.

Oregon and the Ducks' coaching staff would certainly have to explain themselves (so far the university has issued a no comment). The Committee on Infractions would certainly want an explanation and would no doubt dare Chip Kelly and the compliance department to show how they could justify $25,000 for old information. Saying they were just defrauded by Lyles likely won't cut it and failure to answer the question truthfully or a failure to explain why they didn't raise the issue beforehand could result in a 10.1 violation for unethical conduct. Ask Jim Tressel and Ohio State what happens when they commit a 10.1 violation.

One BCS conference compliance officer told CBSSports.com that based on what they've read, "It doesn't look good but I won't predict how it plays out." Another said, "It's possible Oregon thought what they were doing was permissible but got it very wrong."

The school has not been issued a Notice of Inquiry, which marks the formal start of the investigation but the NCAA is certainly looking what has been going on in Eugene. Combined with an inquiry into the basketball program and the fact that Oregon coaches exchanged around 400 text messages and numerous phone calls with Lyles, things are starting to get very interesting.

No one knows how things might turn out for Oregon but there is cause for concern in Eugene.
Posted on: April 8, 2011 1:49 pm
 

NCAA classifies Rivals.com as recruiting service

Posted by Bryan Fischer 

News broke Friday morning that the NCAA issued a new staff interpretation that clarifies recent bylaw changes as they relate to a scouting/recruiting service. CBSSports.com has obtained two emails that were sent out on the issue, both of which point out that the NCAA has classified recruiting website Rivals.com as a scouting service. The emails obtained are below and this article provides a good explanation of the resulting changes to the actual NCAA bylaws. Stay tuned to CBSSports.com for more on this developing story. 

Email 1: 
Today I was contacted by a source that is involved with a college football team. 

He informed me of an issue that has popped up regarding coaches subscribing (either paid or comped) to Rivals.com. 

The short version is one team in the league was going to subscribe to Rivals.com and was told by its compliance office that it would be an NCAA violation. 

They requested assistance from the league office, who got clarification from the NCAA. 

Here's what the league coaches received today from an NCAA representative (the bold passage was highlighted in yellow): 

I am responding to your question. If a recruiting or scouting service, such as Rivals.com, provides nonscholastic video that is not available for free to the general public, then an institution may not subscribe to the service per Bylaw 13.14.3. All recruiting/scouting services are held to the same legislated standard and we consider Rivals.com to be a recruiting/scouting service. The staff has issued a staff interpretation (4/29/09) and two educational columns (3/10/2009 and 5/4/2010) that discuss this issue generally that I have included below. 

The league coaches were instructed to immediately cancel any subscriptions to Rivals.com and to report a secondary recruiting violation if they were or ever have been subscribed (paid or complimentary). 

As you can see by the bolded passage above, the issue is with non-scholastic video (camp/combine footage, etc) being behind a pay wall. 

I'm assuming there wouldn't be an issue if all that footage was free, but that's just a bit of a guess. 

I know I have comped some coaches in the past and have others subscribed to the site. Because I don't want my name in the news for that kind of thing I'm going to cancel all comps and notify the coaches that have subscribed that they should cancel or seek clarification from their compliance office. 

Here's some detailed information from the league's office regarding this issue: 

Staff Interpretation 

Video of Nonscholastic Activities through a Subscription to a Recruiting or Scouting Service (I) 

Date Issued: April 29, 2009 Date Published: April 29, 2009 Item Ref: a 

Interpretation: 

The academic and membership affairs staff determined that it is not permissible for an institution to obtain video (e.g., live streaming video, recorded video) of any nonscholastic activities, including regular game and all-star competition, or any summer camp or clinic competition, through a subscription fee or other associated fee paid to a recruiting or scouting service. Further, it is not permissible to obtain any nonscholastic video that is available only to a select group of individuals (e.g., coaches), even if there is no charge associated with such individuals accessing the video. 

[References: NCAA Bylaws 12.3.3 (athletics scholarship agent) and 13.14.3.2 (video services), official interpretation (4/2/87, Item No. 6), staff interpretations (4/25/88, item d and 2/25/09, Item No. 1) which have been archived.] 

Educational Column 

Videos of Prospective Student-Athletes Participating in Nonscholastic Activities (I) 

Date Issued: March 10, 2009 Date Published: March 10, 2009 Item Ref: 1 

Educational Column: 

NCAA Division I institutions should note that in accordance with NCAA Bylaw 13.14.3.1, an institution may subscribe to a regularly published recruiting or scouting service involving prospective student-athletes, provided this service is made available to all institutions and at the same subscription rate for all subscribers. Additionally, in accordance with Bylaw 13.14.3.2, member institutions are permitted to use video services, provided only regularly scheduled (regular season) high school or two-year college contests are involved. Institutions may not contract with the recruiting or scouting service in advance to have a particular contest recorded or provided, and the video service must be available to all institutions at the same cost. Accordingly, it is not permissible for an institution to obtain video (e.g., live streaming video, recorded video) of any nonscholastic activities, including regular game and all-star competition, any summer camp or clinic competition or specially arranged activities (e.g., lifting weights, agility drills), through a subscription to a recruiting or scouting service. However, it is permissible for an institution to observe prospective student-athletes participating in nonscholastic activities via video (e.g., live streaming video, recorded video) that is available to the general public, provided there is no subscription fee or other associated fee required to observe the video. Finally, off-campus observation of a prospective student-athlete via video made available by a recruiting or scouting service is considered an evaluation activity and is subject to all applicable evaluation regulations. 

The following scenarios will assist member institutions in applying the provisions of Bylaw 13.14.3.2 regarding coaches' use of video services provided by a recruiting or scouting service: 

Scenario No. 1: A recruiting or scouting service posts videos of prospective student-athletes participating in nonscholastic activities on its Web site for the general public to view. There is no cost (e.g., subscription fee) associated with viewing the video. 

Question: Is it permissible for a coach to observe the video posted on the recruiting service's Web site? 

Answer: Yes, it is permissible for a coach to observe such video at any time provided there is no fee required and the video is available to the general public. In addition, observation of this type of video would not count as an evaluation. 

Scenario No. 2: A recruiting or scouting service provides a free video service of prospective student-athletes participating in nonscholastic activities that is available only to collegiate coaches. 

Question: Is it permissible for a coach to subscribe to this type of video service? 

Answer: No, it is not permissible for a coach to observe a video of prospective student-athletes participating in nonscholastic activities that is available only to a select group of individuals (e.g., coaches), even if there is no charge associated with accessing the video. In this case, the recruiting or scouting service is limiting access to the video to a specific group of individuals; therefore, observation of the video would be equivalent to subscribing to the video service. 

Scenario No. 3: A recruiting or scouting service charges a subscription fee for a service that publishes written information (e.g., player profiles, rosters) regarding the athletics ability of prospective student-athletes. By subscribing to the published, written materials an individual is also provided, at no additional charge, access to video of prospective student-athletes participating in nonscholastic activities. 

Question: Is it permissible for a coach to access videos under such an arrangement? 

Answer: No, it is not permissible for a coach to access videos of prospective student-athletes participating in nonscholastic activities under an arrangement that requires a subscription to other information (e.g., player profiles, rosters). In this situation, access to the video of nonscholastic activities is contingent on the purchase of or subscription to other information (e.g., player profiles, rosters) and, for the purposes of NCAA recruiting rules, both services would be considered part of a full subscription package. In order for a coach to observe video of nonscholastic activities, the other information (e.g., written information) and the video access cannot be marketed as a package and there cannot be any requirement, direct or implied, that a coach must purchase the other information (e.g., written information) in order to access the video. Further, the video must be made available to the general public at no charge. 

[References: Bylaws 13.14.3.1 (published recruiting services) and 13.14.3.2 (video services), official interpretation (4/2/87, Item No. 6) and staff interpretations (2/25/09, Item No. 1 and 4/25/88, Item Ref. d, which has been archived)] 

Educational Column 

Recruiting -- Use of Recruiting Funds -- Recruiting or Scouting Services -- Criteria for Subscription (I) 

Date Issued: May 4, 2010 Date Published: May 4, 2010 Item Ref: 1 

Educational Column: 

NCAA Division I Proposal No. 2009-56 was adopted in January 2010 with an immediate effective date. This legislation establishes additional criteria that must be satisfied in order for an institution to subscribe to a recruiting or scouting service involving prospective student-athletes. Pursuant to this legislation, an institution may subscribe to a recruiting or scouting service involving prospective student-athletes, provided the institution does not purchase more than one annual subscription to a particular service, and the service: 

1. Is made available to all institutions desiring to subscribe and at the same fee rate for all subscribers; 

2. Publicly identifies all applicable rates; 

3. Disseminates information (e.g., reports, profiles) about prospective student-athletes at least four times per calendar year; 

4. Publicly identifies the geographical scope of the service (e.g., local, regional, national) and reflects broad-based coverage of the geographical area in the information it disseminates; 

5. Provides individual analysis beyond demographic information or rankings for each prospective student-athlete in the information it disseminates; 

6. Provides access to samples or previews of the information it disseminates prior to purchase of a subscription; and 

7. Provides video that is restricted to regularly scheduled (regular season) high school, preparatory school or two-year college contests and for which the institution made no prior arrangements for recording. (Note: This provision is applicable only if the subscription includes video services.) 

The following questions and answers are designed to assist the Division I membership in applying this legislation. 

Question No. 1: Who is responsible for ensuring that a particular service is in compliance with the legislation? 

Answer: Each institution is responsible for ensuring each service for which it maintains a subscription is in compliance with the legislation. 

Question No. 2: Is it permissible for an institution to subscribe to more than one recruiting or scouting service? 

Answer: Yes. Provided each service meets the legislated criteria, and the institution maintains only one subscription to each service. 

Question No. 3: If a service separates its information by gender, may an institution maintain separate subscriptions for each gender? 

Answer: Yes, provided the service requires a separate registration fee for access to information for each gender. 

Question No. 4: If a service provides information on prospective student-athletes for multiple sports, can an institution maintain more than one subscription to that service? 

Answer: No, an institution may not maintain more than one subscription to the same service unless there is a separate registration fee for access to prospective student-athletes and reports in different sports. 

Question No. 5: If a service does not meet the legislated criteria, is an institution required to cancel that subscription? 

Answer: An institution must cancel a service that is no longer permissible at its earliest opportunity. Any remaining terms/years on a multiyear subscription purchased prior to January 16, 2010, must be cancelled if the recruiting service is not in compliance with the legislation as of the date payment is due for renewing a single-year subscription. If a subscription to a service that does not meet the legislated criteria was purchased on or after January 16, 2010, an institution is required to cancel the subscription immediately and would be in violation of the legislation. 

Question No. 6: May an institution subscribe to a service that offers a discounted subscription? 

Answer: Yes, as long as the service offers the discount to all institutions desiring to subscribe, the service is considered to be offered at the same fee rate for all subscribers. However, if a discount requires registration/payment with a separate organization, then an institution is prohibited from subscribing to that service because the discounted subscription rate may not be available to all subscribers. 

For example, would the following pricing structure satisfy the requirement that the service is made available to all institutions desiring to subscribe and at the same fee rate for all subscribers? 

a. Base price (single program): $300; 

b. Renewal discount: $25; 

c. International Tennis Association (ITA) member discount: $25; and 

d. Multiuser discount (both men and women): $50. 

The renewal discount is permissible, specifically because it is available to any institution that continues a subscription beyond one year. The discount for ITA members and multiuser discount is not because all institutions may not qualify for the discounts. 

Question No. 7: May an institution subscribe to a service that provides access to nonscholastic video if the service does not shoot, produce or edit the video, and access to the video is free and available to the general public? 

Answer: Yes, if the service is only providing a link to video that is otherwise free and available to the general public. 

Question No. 8: What is the minimum analysis that may be provided in order to comply with the requirement that the service provides analysis in the information it disseminates beyond demographic information or rankings of prospective student-athletes? 

Answer: The information disseminated must include an analysis of each prospect included in the information. A general statement about the college level at which the player may be best suited and a ranking is not sufficient; there must be individual analysis on each prospective student-athlete's skills. 

During its April 2010 meeting, the NCAA Division I Legislative Council clarified that individual analysis beyond demographic information or rankings for each prospective student-athlete for whom information is disseminated, must be provided by a recruiting or scouting service in order for an institution to subscribe to such a service. 

Question No. 9: Does the provision of event packets at athletics contests or tournaments subject the event to the legislated requirements for recruiting and scouting services? 

Answer: Event packets with statistical information regarding prospective student-athletes participating in a specific contest or tournament is not subject to the application of the recruiting or scouting services legislation for institutional coaches in attendance at the event. However, for those institutional coaches not in attendance at such an event, purchasing such information would be subject to the recruiting and scouting services legislation. 

[References: NCAA Division I Bylaw 13.14.3 (recruiting or scouting services) and staff interpretation (4/29/09, Item No. a)]

Email 2: 

Just curious if anyone has dealt with this before, one of our coaches received an open ended email from the local rivals.com rep this morning with the following content. Supposedly this message went out to rivals.com reps throughout the country in the last few days. 

"Here's what the league coaches received today from an NCAA representative (the bold passage was highlighted in yellow): I am responding to your question. If a recruiting or scouting service, such as Rivals.com, provides nonscholastic video that is not available for free to the general public, then an institution may not subscribe to the service per Bylaw 13.14.3. All recruiting/scouting services are held to the same legislated standard and we consider Rivals.com to be a recruiting/scouting service. The staff has issued a staff interpretation (4/29/09) and two educational columns (3/10/2009 and 5/4/2010) that discuss this issue generally that I have included below. 

The league coaches were instructed to immediately cancel any subscriptions to Rivals.com and to report a secondary recruiting violation if they were or ever have been subscribed (paid or complimentary). 

As you can see by the bolded passage above, the issue is with non-scholastic video (camp/combine footage, etc) being behind a pay wall. 

Lindsey K. Babcock Assistant Commissioner, Compliance & Governance Atlantic Coast Conference
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com