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Section V: Student Affairs

Policy Number: V-2.00(C)

University of Maryland, College Park Policy on Conduct and Ethics for Student-Athletes

(Approved by the President )

A. Policy

The University of Maryland College Park has established a tradition of ethical conduct at all levels of University life. In accordance with this tradition, all student- athletes involved in the intercollegiate athletics program are expected to represent the University in an honorable manner at all times.

B. Governing Authorities

Standards of ethical conduct are established and enforced by:

  1. Department of Intercollegiate AthleticsRules for student-athletes are established by each individual sport's Head Coach and his/her staff, within parameters set by the Director of Athletics, the Athletic Council and the University. The Head Coach informs team members of established team and training rules at the beginning of the academic year.In addition to specific rules and regulations for individual sports, general conduct policies are set forth below. 
  2. The University of Maryland College ParkAll student-athletes are subject to the Code of Student Conduct, as outlined in The University of Maryland College Park Undergraduate Catalog. The Judicial Programs Office is responsible for administering the Code. Depending on the severity of an offense, students accused of misconduct are entitled to either an informal disciplinary conference or a judicial board hearing. Final authority in disciplinary matters is vested with University administration and in the Board of Regents. All student disciplinary records are maintained by the Judicial Programs Office. 
  3. The Atlantic Coast ConferenceThe University is responsible for ensuring that all individuals associated with the intercollegiate athletics program conduct themselves in a sportsmanlike manner.Unsportsmanlike behavior is not tolerated and is subject to individual disciplinary action. Failure to enforce this ACC policy may result in disciplinary action against the University. A detailed account of the Conference policy is contained in the Atlantic Coast Conference manual. 
  4. National Collegiate Athletic AssociationStudent-athletes are subject to the rules and regulations of the NCAA governing unsportsmanlike behavior, non-therapeutic drug use, gambling and bribery, and the acceptance of impermissible awards, benefits and expenses, as well as other forms of misconduct.

C. Personal Conduct and Responsibilities

The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics makes every effort to offer a program that assists each student-athlete in securing a degree and fulfilling the objectives of the University. The acceptance of athletic financial aid and participation as a member of an athletic team carries with it definite academic and athletic responsibilities for the student-athlete. They are as follows:

  1. Academic
    1. Attend classes regularly and complete all academic assignments;
    2. consult with academic counselors and attend tutoring sessions, supervised study sessions or other academic responsibilities and programs as directed;
    3. maintain an academic course load of at least twelve (12) hours per semester and make progress toward a degree;
    4. accept responsibility for maintaining academic eligibility; and
    5. strive to obtain a college degree within four (4) years.
  2. Athletic
    1. Abide by all University, ACC and NCAA team rules;
    2. maintain oneself in top physical condition, within accepted health standards;
    3. attend all organized practices unless officially excused;
    4. take care of equipment and return it in good condition;
    5. treat officials and opponents with respect, and avoid undue confrontations (see "Sportsmanlike Conduct" below);
    6. maintain proper standards of grooming and dress; and g. abstain from using tobacco, alcohol and non-therapeutic drugs.

Student-athletes are encouraged to obtain clarification of any Departmental, University, ACC or NCAA rules and regulations which are not understood from a member of the coaching staff or the Assistant Director for Academic Support and Compliance.

D. Sportsmanlike Conduct

Sportsmanlike conduct means more than the absence of negative actions in public. The Director of Athletics, as well as each individual Head Coach, is responsible for providing conduct instruction to student-athletes by disseminating information on techniques which approach in a positive manner the following situations when on the playing field:

  1. communicating with officials and opponents on routine matters during athletic events;
  2. maintaining control during emotionally charged situations, including assisting a teammate or colleague who appears to be losing control; and
  3. reacting in a positive manner to an aggressive action by an individual or group.

Coaches are to define actions which constitute inappropriate conduct, and suggest ways to avoid such behavior. Unacceptable behavior includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  1. any arrest for unlawful conduct;
  2. physical abuse of officials, coaches, opponents or spectators;
  3. throwing of objects;
  4. unauthorized seizure of equipment from officials or the news media;
  5. inciting players or spectators to negative actions or to any behavior which insults or defiles an opponent's traditions;
  6. use of obscene or otherwise inappropriate language or gestures;
  7. making public statements which are negative, controversial or outside the Department's media policy; or
  8. participating in any action which violates the generally recognized ethical standards of intercollegiate athletics, the University or the community.

E. Gambling and Bribery

The NCAA has established specific guidelines concerning involvement in gambling and bribery at the intercollegiate sports level. In order to educate the student-athlete regarding illegal organized gambling, the University and the Department have developed and implemented a comprehensive educational program which instructs the student-athlete on the nature and prevalence of intercollegiate gambling and bribery, as well as the risks involved for the individual and for the entire University.

In addition to awareness of the gambling and bribery threat to the integrity of intercollegiate sports, student-athletes are responsible for the following:

  1. reporting any offers of gifts, money or favors in exchange for supplying team information or for attempting to alter the outcome of any contest;
  2. Maintaining a clear understanding of what constitutes gambling and bribery activities and reporting any such infractions;
  3. contacting the coach or other Departmental personnel (i.e. Sports Information Office staff) when questions concerning appropriate release of team information occur; and
  4. increasing one's awareness that participation in gambling or bribery activities can result in disciplinary actions by the University and the NCAA (see "Enforcement" below), as well as local, state and/or federal prosecution.

F. Agents

It is essential that student-athletes know the NCAA rules related to professional sports. An infraction of the rules concerning agents could have severe negative consequences for the University and the student-athlete. NCAA rules pertaining to sport agents and professional sports counseling panels:

  1. FORBID an athlete to agree, either orally or in writing, to be represented by an agent or organization in the marketing of his or her athletic ability or reputation until after the completion of the last intercollegiate contest, including post-season games. This NCAA prohibition includes an agreement that is not effective until after the last game.
  2. FORBID an athlete or his or her representative to enter into a playing contract either orally or in writing, regardless of the legal enforceability of that agreement, in that sport in which the athlete intends to compete intercollegiately.
  3. FORBID an athlete or his or her representative to accept remuneration for or permit the use of his or her name or picture to advertise, recommend, promote or endorse the sale or use of a commercial or service of any kind.
  4. FORBID an athlete to ask to be placed on a professional league's draft list, whether or not the athlete withdraws his or her name before the draft, whether or not the athlete is actually drafted, and whether or not the athlete signs a professional contract.
  5. FORBID an athlete to accept expenses or gifts of any kind (including meals and transportation) from an agent (or anyone else) who wishes to provide services to the student-athlete. Such payment is not allowed because it would be compensation based on athletic skills and a preferential benefit not available to other students.
  6. FORBID an athlete to receive preferential benefits or treatments (for example, loans with deferred pay-back basis) because of the athlete's reputation, skill, or potential as a professional athlete.
  7. FORBID an athlete to retain professional services for personal reasons at less than the normal charge from a representative of his school's athletic interest.

Neither Maryland law nor the NCAA rules prohibit a student- athlete from contacting an agent for informational purposes. However, since all agents must be licensed by the State, the Athletic Department believes that it is in the student- athlete's best interests for him/her to confer with the Associate Athletic Director for Compliance about the license status of a prospective agent or other third party. Moreover, agents or other third parties may not contact student-athletes without first having received permission to do so from the Associate Athletic Director for Compliance.

If a student-athlete does not inform the Associate Athletic Director for Compliance that he/she has been contacted in person or by phone by an agent or other third party without Athletic Department permission for such contact, the student will receive a written warning that a second contact may result in possible sanctions. A second violation will be grounds for sanction to be determined by the Director of Athletics. The sanction may include denial of future eligibility for competition at the University of Maryland.

A student-athlete who signs a contract to be represented by an agent in the marketing of the individual's athletic ability is no longer eligible to compete in intercollegiate athletics in that sport. The Associate Athletic Director for Compliance shall immediately declare the student-athlete ineligible for further competition and fully disclose the infraction to appropriate authorities.

G. Enforcement

Violations of University policy regarding academics, residence life and general conduct are handled in the same manner as for the general student body. Each Head Coach is responsible for enforcing team rules. All other student- athlete conduct violations are reported to the Departmental administrator responsible for management of the designated sport, the Assistant Athletic Director for Academic Support and Compliance, the Director of Athletics and the Faculty Athletic Representative, as appropriate.

Additionally, all NCAA rule violations are also reported to the President of the University of Maryland College Park. Reports are then filed with the Atlantic Coast Conference and the NCAA offices according to established reporting procedures.

If a student-athlete is found to be in violation of University, ACC or NCAA policy, the penalty imposed depends upon the severity of the offense and may include the following:

  • probation;
  • dismissal from the squad;
  • cancellation or gradation of the grant-in-aid; and/or
  • dismissal from the University.