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Case Study: What is an Administrative Error?

October 23, 2017
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This week, in our new brief style, we are going to dive into what is and what is not an administrative error with respect to eligibility certification process.

Scenario 1:

Colter, a freshman in his first semester, receives an Eligibility Center determination of eligible for the fall of 2017 and enrolls in 15 institutional credit hours. His school submits the football team’s packet prior to their first game scheduled for September 13, 2017, but they leave Colter off on accident. Colter competes but his school doesn’t realize their mistake until September 20, 2017. The school quickly resubmits a correct eligibility packet to their conference eligibility chair on the same day. Is this an administrative error?


Yes, this would be considered an administrative error because Colter was confirmed to be otherwise academically eligible as he received an Eligibility Center determination prior to the date of competition and he was enrolled in 12 hours. The fact that it was outside of the five day window is not applicable when the issue involves an individual student and not a team as a whole. The school must submit a self-report violation.

Scenario 2:

KCMO University’s soccer team’s first competition is on October 4, 2017, and their data entry person correctly completed the eligibility packet and sent it to all four signers on October 3, 2017. However, the athletic director became ill and was admitted to the hospital. The AD never signed the eligibility packet and the packet was therefore never sent to the eligibility chair. KCMO realized this error and resubmitted the packet on October 8, 2017, with all of the correct signatures. Is this an administrative error?


Yes, because this eligibility packet was correct but not submitted until after the first date of competition and within five days. This would also qualify as an administrative error. When the error involves the whole team, then it must be correctly resubmitted within five days of the first competition.  Again, KCMO must self-report this violation to their conference eligibility chair.     

Scenario 3:

Trina is awaiting an Eligibility Center determination so that she can play for her school’s volleyball team.  The student’s Faculty Athletic Representative (FAR) knows the student will be otherwise academically eligible as she meets the 12 hour enrollment rule, 24/36 hour rule, and the progress rule per their academic records. The FAR is waiting for the student’s decision to post, but allows the coach to take the student on the bus for the next competition. Her team is entered into a tournament with the first competition on October 12, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. and the second game at 7:00 p.m. on the same day. Trina competes in both games. The Eligibility Center determines that Trina is eligible at 3:30 p.m. on October 12, 2017. Trina’s school submitted an eligibility packet before the first game and left Trina off due to waiting on the Eligibility Center’s decision. Is this an administrative error?


Yes and no. Trina competed without an eligibility center determination in the first game which is a violation. Her team could not use the administrative error rule for the first game because Trina was not otherwise academically eligible due to the lack of determination from the Eligibility Center. This will most likely result in a forfeits and additional penalties to the institution. It does not matter that she was ultimately determined to be eligible. “Otherwise academically eligible” means that she must have satisfied all eligibility requirements. In this case, she had not received her eligibility center determination. However, the second game would meet the criteria of an administrative error as Trina was otherwise academically eligible due to the fact that her eligibility center determination had been made prior to her competing. Again, both of these instances would have to be self-reported by the institution.

Applicable Bylaws:

Article VI, Section B, Part 1:

*This bylaw can be found on page 63 of our new handbook.

  1. Institutional Violation(s): An Administrative Error Not Requiring Forfeits

An administrative error is defined as an eligibility case where one or more students who were otherwise academically eligible were left off the official eligibility certificate, or where the filing of the official eligibility certificate was completed correctly but was filed after the date of first competition and within five days of the first contest. In such cases the following shall apply:

a. Forfeitures shall not be required for contests in which improperly certified students who were otherwise eligible competed;

b. Such institutions also shall receive an official warning for the first offense; and 

c. Repeated violations of certification procedures shall lead to an official reprimand and/or probation and/or suspension of the sport or of all sports sponsored in the affected program (men’s and/or women’s).


Unless the situation fits exactly into the administrative error criteria as written in the bylaw, then it will not qualify. This is not for the school to determine. All reports of violations, including an administrative error, must be reported to your conference eligibility chair. The eligibility chair may submit the information through a self-report violation to Legislative Services to determine if the situation will fit the administrative error criteria. Also, any student that is involved must be held out of all competitions until the self-report violation is resolved. Failure to do so could result in additional penalties for the institution. Lastly, “otherwise academically eligible” means the student must meet all facets of eligibility including an Eligibility Center decision of eligible.

Please tune in at noon central time on Tuesday, as Lendsey Thomson and Jared Shafer will dive into this scenario even further. Legislative Services has written about administrative errors in the past and that brief can be found at the link below.

Administrative Errors


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