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Division I Enforcement: Conducting a Campus Investigation. 2012 Regional Rules Seminars. Session Overview Purpose:

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Division I Enforcement:

Conducting a Campus


2012 Regional Rules Seminars


Session Overview


Discuss methods and strategies for investigating NCAA rules violations on campus, including suggestions for gathering documents, conducting interviews and working with the enforcement staff.


I. Introduction

A. Major versus Secondary

B. Cooperative Principle

II. Methods

III. Strategies

IV. Conclusion


Defining a Secondary Violation

  • Secondary (NCAA Bylaw
    • Isolated or inadvertent in nature,
    • Provides or is intended to provide only a minimal recruiting, competitive or other advantage, and
    • Does not include any significant recruiting inducement or extra benefit.

Defining Major Violations

  • Major (Bylaw
    • All violations, other than secondary violations, specifically those that provide an extensive recruiting or competitive advantage.

Cooperative Principle (Bylaw 32.1.4)

    • Imposes an affirmative obligation to assist enforcement staff in developing full information
    • to determine whether violation(s) occurred. 
    • Requires all individuals to protect the integrity of an investigation and failure to do so may be a violation of the principles of ethical conduct. 
    • In some instances, to protect the integrity of an investigation, the enforcement staff may not be able to share information with the institution.

Cooperative Principle

  • Other Pertinent Principles and Bylaws:
    • Responsibility for control [2.1.1 and 2.1.2]
    • Principle of rules compliance [2.8.1]
    • General obligation of membership []
    • Refusal to furnish information [10.1-(a)]
    • Responsibility to cooperate [19.01.3]
    • Responsibility to cooperate []

A Further Look at Cooperation

  • Institutions are obligated to cooperate. The NCAA Committee on Infractions (COI) will consider the degree of the institution's cooperation.
  • Parties are not to disseminate information among themselves that might impede development.
  • Failure to cooperate could result in an allegation of a violation of the principles of ethical conduct and/or the cooperative principle.
  • The COI considers whether an institution's inquiry was complete and thorough.

Rationale for Establishing a

  • Written Investigative Policy
    • Promotes uniformity/ transparency.
    • Provides for a timely and organized response to potential violations.
    • Lack of policy may lead to questions of institutional control.
    • COI may review institutional policy and protocol.

Content of Investigative Policies

  • Guidelines setting forth circumstances in which an inquiry is conducted.
  • Roles/responsibilities of administrators.
  • Statement of confidentiality.
  • Consequences for failing to report violations.
  • Procedures for addressing, correcting and preventing violations.
  • Procedures for reporting violations, investigations and sanctions.

Gathering Information: Interviews

Recommendations for the Institutional Investigator:

  • Identify individuals to be interviewed.
  • Determine who should be present for each interview.
  • Find a location for interviews that is comfortable, disturbance free and has low visibility.
  • Explain the purpose of the interview - determine knowledge of or involvement in violations. Do not specify the substance of the interview.

Gathering Information: Interviews

Recommendations for the institutional investigator:

  • Record each interview.
  • State on the record, the name of the person interviewed, date, time, location and individuals present.
  • Review the obligation to tell the truth and be forthcoming [Bylaws 10.01 & 10.1] and ramifications for not being truthful [Bylaws 10.4].
  • Opportunity for legal counsel.

Gathering Information: Documents

  • Use of releases.
  • Possible documents/information to be reviewed:
    • Financial Records: Bank Statements
    • Credit/Debit Cards
        • Western Union Transfers
    • Travel Records: Air Travel
      • Hotel/Lodging
    • Phone Records: Cell
      • Text

Gathering Information: Documents

  • Possible documents/information to be reviewed:
    • Vehicle Information
    • Computer Records: Email
      • Hard drives
    • Social Media: Twitter/Facebook
    • Academic Documents: Transcripts
      • SAT/ACT information

Evaluating Information

  • The administrator responsible for evaluating information should be set forth in the institutional policy.
  • Identify eligibility issues.
    • If any exist, contact Student-Athlete Reinstatement.
    • Institutional Responsibility [Bylaw 14.01.1].

Notifying Enforcement

  • Contact enforcement staff when guidance is needed.
  • Staff may join the investigation or allow the institution to continue inquiry on its own.
  • Early contact may avoid duplicative efforts.
  • Staff may have additional information regarding potential violations.

Content of the Investigative Report

    • Purpose
    • Case chronology
    • General overview of findings
    • Overview of the institutions investigation
    • Specific findings
    • Other possible violations
    • Corrective actions
    • Conclusions
    • Appendix

Determining Who to Interview

  • Sources outside the institution.
    • Boosters
    • Business People
    • Parents
    • Prospects
    • High School Coaches
    • Former Student-Athletes
  • Who can be trusted?
  • Corroborating sources.

Determining Who to Interview

  • Institutional Staff Members
    • Who is an institutional staff member?
      • Coaches
      • Administrators
      • Academic Counselors
      • Tutors
      • Secretaries/Support Staff
      • Another Student-Athlete
      • Professors
    • Be thorough (this can be difficult with campus personnel).

Determining Who to Interview

  • Institutional Staff Members
    • Identify who is potentially "at risk" for involvement in the violations.
    • Strategy discussions should not include potentially "at risk" individuals.

Order of Interviews

  • Interview outside sources first.
  • Conduct interviews in a timely fashion.
  • Consider the sequence of interviews.
  • Instruct individuals to not discuss information.
  • Anticipate interviews will take longer than expected.

Conducting the Interviews

  • Prior to interview, collect supporting documents.
  • Conduct the tough interview.
  • Discuss previous collection of significant information and the importance of being truthful.

Interviewing Details

  • Telephone or in-person?
    • At risk individuals: interview in-person.
    • If information is significant: interview in-person.
  • Cold call or prearranged?
    • Suspect non-cooperation: cold call.
    • To avoid talking with other witnesses: cold call.
  • Where to conduct interviews?
    • Controlled and private setting.
    • Accommodating off-campus individuals.

Interview Techniques

Questioning and listening techniques.

Purpose of the interview is to gather information.

      • Two types of information:
        • Investigative: Who, what, where, why, when, how and who can corroborate.
        • Behavioral: Emotions, attitudes and non-verbal responses.

Effective Interviewing

  • Ask open-ended questions.
    • The best information is a narrative response.
    • Interviewee should do the majority of the talking.
    • Begin questions with a verb or command word.
  • Pause to elicit more information.
    • Avoid interruptions.
      • - Increases opportunity for obtaining more information.
      • - Silence is okay.
  • Ask specific questions.
  • Paraphrase responses to determine accuracy of the information.

Suggestions for Interviewers

  • Refrain from interruptions.
  • Visual aids can be useful.
  • Avoid offering advice, being judgmental or filling in gaps.
  • Good listeners are good interviewers.
  • Calendars may prove to be useful to pinpoint timeframes.

Compliance Systems

  • Make honest, candid assessments.
  • Identify potential breakdowns.
  • Determine the scope of violations.
  • Implement meaningful corrective actions.
  • Will help avoid future violations of the same kind, promote earlier detection and avoid potential failure to monitor and/or lack of institutional control charges.


  • Suggestions should help member institutions in handling the "nuts and bolts" of conducting effective investigations of potential major NCAA rules violations on campuses.
  • If a hearing before the COI is required, the committee will take into consideration the thoroughness of the institution's internal investigation.
  • Don't take a chance by leaving investigation methods and strategies (or lack of) open to criticism. 


  • If you need help or advice:
    • Contact the enforcement staff.
    • Contact the conference office.
    • Website ( - links to enforcement information and databases.
  • Questions?