Kentucky Wildcats Basketball: What Are The NCAA Implications Of Calipari's Invitation UK's NBA Alumni?

John Calipari's recent high-profile invitation to former UK players now locked out by the NBA to come to Lexington to train and perhaps study has drawn a lot of comment, both serious and otherwise.  So what, if any, would be the NCAA implications of having professional players on campus during the summer?

Turning to the 2010-11 rulebook, the first potential pitfall we run across is this rule

13.02.14 Representative of Athletics Interests. A "representative of the institution’s athletics interests" is an individual, independent agency, corporate entity (e.g., apparel or equipment manufacturer) or other organization who is known (or who should have been known) by a member of the institution’s executive or athletics administration to: (Revised: 2/16/00)

(a) Have participated in or to be a member of an agency or organization promoting the institution’s intercollegiate athletics program;
(b) Have made financial contributions to the athletics department or to an athletics booster organization of that institution;
(c) Be assisting or to have been requested (by the athletics department staff) to assist in the recruitment of prospective student-athletes;
(d) Be assisting or to have assisted in providing benefits to enrolled student-athletes or their families; or
(e) Have been involved otherwise in promoting the institution’s athletics program. [my emphasis]

Because of their prior participation in UK athletics and public statements in support of same, former players would likely be considered "Representatives of Athletics Interests," aka a "booster."  Boosters, as we have found out over the years, can be almost anyone and is not limited to such things as having actually provided financial support to the school in question, holding season tickets, etc. 

Boosters are of special concern to NCAA school's compliance departments, because the NCAA requires the school accept responsibility for the actions of boosters, and that definition is deliberately vague and extremely broad.

The implications are in this rule:

13.1.2 Permissible Recruiters.

13.1.2.1 General Rule. All in-person, on- and off-campus recruiting contacts with a prospective student-athlete or the prospective student-athlete’s relatives or legal guardians shall be made only by authorized institutional staff members. Such contact, as well as correspondence and telephone calls, by representatives of an institution’s athletics interests is prohibited except as otherwise permitted in this section. Violations of this bylaw involving individuals other than a representative of an institution’s athletics interests shall be considered institutional violations per Constitution 2.8.1; however, such violations shall not affect the prospective student-athlete’s eligibility.(Revised: 8/5/04) [my emphasis]

What this means is that any of Kentucky's recruits who are not enrolled in UK may not have contact with the NBA players, assuming any take up Calipari's offer.  To do so would be a violation of the rule, except for "unavoidable, incidental contact," and I think Sandy Bell would be very concerned about that, as more than one incident would surely be seen as a failure on the part of the institution to ensure compliance.

So now the question comes, could these pros play pick-up games with current enrolled Kentucky players?  Yes:

12.2.3.1 Competition against Professionals. An individual may participate singly or as a member of an amateur team against professional athletes or professional teams. (Revised: 8/24/07)

"Individual" in this context means both enrolled and non-enrolled players, but the booster prohibition above would prevent prospective student-athletes from playing with the professionals.

But there are pitfalls here as well, primarily involving organization and school representation.  In the off season, the team members could join in pick-up games with the pros, but they would retain the same restrictions as current pick-up games, i.e. not advertised, no coaching staff involvement, etc.

This, at least, is my reading of the rules.  Discuss.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join A Sea Of Blue

You must be a member of A Sea Of Blue to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at A Sea Of Blue. You should read them.

Join A Sea Of Blue

You must be a member of A Sea Of Blue to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at A Sea Of Blue. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker