Legislative Services and the rest of the NAIA just got back from our National Convention in West Palm Beach, Florida and were amazed watching all of our members discussing and sharing best practices. As always, there were numerous instances of Faculty Athletics Representatives (FAR) collaborating amongst one another, but for the first time this year we also saw the newly formed Athletic Compliance Administrators Association (ACAA) fostering such discussion amongst Athletic Compliance Administrators (ACA). We thought it would be good to address some of our ongoing professional development opportunities as well as illustrate the relationship between the FAR and ACA.
Professional development opportunities:
- At the Eligibility Personnel Workshop at convention members had the unique opportunity to discuss pressing issues in their field with a room full of people in the same position on other campuses. The topics discussed were grade checks, add/drop procedures, how to deal with program requirements such as internships, creation and completion of tracers, and academic scheduling. All of these topics arose out of the FAR Google group and garnered some serious discussions among the group.
- The Athletic Compliance Administrators had their own workshop where they did an excellent job of explaining what their agenda and to-do list looks like at each stage of the academic year. They also discussed their future plans with the association. In addition, they are in the process of working with the NAIA and will have their own webpage on NAIA.org in the near future. The executive committee was also introduced: Ian Potter, Georgia Gwinnett; Teneisha McKinney, Langston University; and Mike Teague, Vanguard University.
- The FARs have a Google group that allows them to ask questions of fellow FARs with the simple draft of an email. This group provides great insight to some of the more difficult situations that FARs have to deal with on a daily basis. The ACA is also in the process of creating a Google group, as is the Registrars Association. If any FARs would like to be a part of the Google group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Registrars and Compliance Administrators should be looking for an invite email in the near future.
FARs and ACAs working in concert:
At the 2018 NAIA National Convention the membership voted to create a role within the NAIA governance structure for Athletics Compliance Administrators as well as a corresponding association. The entire language of the bylaw is below for your convenience. At the 2019 NAIA National Convention there was some talk about how the ACA and the FAR should interact and work with each other. In the second half of this brief, we will discuss the relationship between these two valuable positions.
Bylaw: Article I, Section D.
When appointed, an athletics compliance administrator shall work in cooperation with the faculty athletics representative and athletics director to foster an environment of education and adherence to all institution, conference and NAIA regulations. An athletics compliance administrator may:
a. Assist the director of athletics, faculty athletics representative, athletic staff, students, and fans in understanding and abiding by institution, conference and NAIA regulations.
b. Perform duties that may include researching students’ athletic experience and/or, amateurism, and tracking participation dates, practice seasons, and/or team financial aid limits.
c. Perform duties as requested by the faculty athletics representative that may include preparation of eligibility in accordance with institution, conference and NAIA rules.
d. Assist the faculty athletics representative in providing a rules education program for students, coaches and administrators regarding institutions, conference and NAIA rules.
e. Be a member of the athletics office (e.g., coach or athletics department staff) or an institutional staff member (e.g., academic advisor, etc.) but not assigned as a faculty athletics representative or director of athletics.
f. Work with the athletics director, faculty athletics representative and registrar to develop policies and procedures to monitor and ensure compliance with all NAIA and conference rules and regulations.
As you can see from the plain language of the bylaw, the ACA is not a required position on campus and can be filled when a school feels that it is in its best interest. The ACA’s role on campus is ultimately to assist the FAR with maintaining compliance with the NAIA’s bylaws and policies. The ACA is an excellent addition to the NAIA fabric and when used appropriately can really help an FAR navigate the difficulties of juggling teaching classes and being the primary point person for all athletic eligibility.
When an ACA is on staff they shall work with the FAR and Athletic Director to ensure adherence to all NAIA, conference, and institution regulations. This means that the ACA is not taking the place of the FAR or AD but is assisting them in the processes where the FAR and AD see fit. The second part of the bylaw indicates what an ACA may do. Bullet point B lists the tasks that the ACA can do on their own without direction from the AD or FAR: researching student’s history; tracking participation; mapping out the 24-week season; and keeping a hold on the financial aid limits in each sport. Bullets A, C, D, and F outline all the things that the ACA can assist with but are not the ultimate point person who holds final responsibility: educating faculty and athletes on the appropriate rules and regulations; assisting the FAR with eligibility processes; and the development of policies and procedures to monitor and ensure compliance.
At this time there are no eligibility related processes that are the sole responsibility of the ACA as it is not a required position on campus (unlike an FAR, which is required on each of the NAIA member campuses). For example, this means that it is the responsibility of the FAR to sign off on all eligibility certificates created in the ECP software. This bylaw does not state that the ACA cannot have a role in this process but the ultimate responsibility still lies with the FAR.
What can the ACA do? The ACA can do any of the items listed in the bylaw as requested by the FAR and/or AD. This means they can assist with eligibility processing, tracking of eligibility, data entry on forms, etc. However, there are a few places where the ACA does not have a role, for example, an ACA is not a signer on the ECP software. Those signers must be the AD, FAR, Registrar, and Head Coach for the sport in question. Similarly, it is the responsibility of the FAR to complete the Transfer Player Eligibility Statement for all transfer students, per the form’s instructions. The ACA can have a role in these processes in conjunction with the FAR, but again the onus is on the FAR to be the ultimate check of the information that is provided.
Please join Legislative Services at noon central on Tuesday for Facebook live, where Legislative Services will discuss this topic in more detail.
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