ICA 406: Consensual Relationships
To state the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics’ policy on consensual relationships between ICA coaches, staff members, student assistants, and student-athletes
NCAA Bylaw 10.1, Unethical Conduct
NCAA Bylaw 16.02.3, Extra Benefit
NCAA Bylaw 16.11.1, Permissible Benefits, Gifts and Services
All full-, part-time, and voluntary ICA coaches, staff members, and student-assistants
All third-party staff members who work for or report to ICA staff
It is the policy of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics (“ICA”) that sexual relationships between ICA coaches (whether paid or voluntary) or other full-, part-time, or voluntary ICA staff members and student-athletes or ICA student assistants, or between ICA student assistants and student-athletes, are prohibited.
This prohibition does not apply to a consensual relationship between an ICA staff member or student assistant and a student-athlete that began before the individual became an ICA staff member or student assistant. Any ICA coach, staff member, or student assistant involved in such a pre-existing relationship must notify his or her supervisor of this fact immediately upon becoming an ICA staff member or student assistant.
In addition, no ICA coach, staff member, or student assistant shall provide any student-athlete with a service or a product that the ICA coach, staff member, or student assistant knows or should know will result in the receipt by the student-athlete of an improper extra benefit as defined by the NCAA.
The focus of this policy is to maintain the integrity of the professional relationship between university coaches and staff members and the students for whom they are responsible, and to prevent the giving of impermissible benefits or advantages to student-athletes by ICA coaches, staff members, or student-assistants. While friendships are not prohibited (unless an impermissible benefit or advantage is realized), sexual relationships, which increase the likelihood of an improper extra-benefits violation, are prohibited.
When a newly appointed student or graduate assistant has a pre-existing romantic relationship with a student-athlete, the new student or graduate assistant assumes and accepts the responsibilities of becoming an ICA staff member. This means that the new staff member can continue the relationship, but must not provide a service or product to a student-athlete that the staff member knows or should know will result in an improper extra-benefits violation.
Violation of this policy shall result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal of the offending ICA coach or staff member or reassignment or dismissal of the offending ICA student assistant. In determining what discipline to assess, the vice president of University Athletics shall take into account whether the ICA coach, staff member, or student assistant self-reported and disclosed the violation before it was discovered by other means.
Disclosure of the relationship need not result in termination—depending on the circumstances, the staff member may be reassigned so as not to have any further professional contact with the student-athlete—but the staff member will be required to end the relationship as a condition of continued employment with ICA.
Nondisclosure of the relationship will result in the staff member’s termination from ICA.
For further information, see ICA 104, “Rules Compliance.”
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