NCAA standards may conflict with SNU mission

Grace Williams, Business and Social Media Manager

   SNU is in its second year of NCAA candidacy. In that time, many changes have taken effect. One change is stricter regulations for student athletes.

   In July of 2012, Tammy Ikerd, Assistant Athletics Director for Compliance and Senior Woman Administrator, was hired to oversee these regulations. She has worked in compliance at Southwest Baptist since 2005.

   Ikerd said, “I’ve felt really welcomed here. SNU has been such a blessing, they have been really supportive of me. My job can be hard because I am basically the ‘cop of athletics.’ It’s a 24/7 job because student-athletes and coaches are always doing things, plus there are so many games and recruiting events. I like to take this ‘cop’ job to heart to protect and serve the student athletes like cops do for everyone.”

   Ikerd has worked a lot on doing rules education with the campus to inform faculty, staff and students about the new regulations and how to comply.

    “I always have the 231 page NCAA manual with me; I have a copy downloaded on my phone and a hard copy at home and in my office. I email and tweet tips for compliance at least once a week,” Ikerd said.

    The biggest change for student-athletes is the transfer policy. Now, student-athletes can only transfer one time without losing semesters of eligibility. The GPA. and coursework requirements are also stricter for student athlete transfers from junior colleges.

    The change that impacts SNU’s community the most is the extra benefits rule. This rule is in place to ensure that student athletes are not given any more perks than a typical student.

    “The extra benefits rule is hard for a mission driven campus and community like SNU. Professors or staff members can’t take student athletes out for coffee, buy them a meal or give them anything. This makes mentoring a challenge because it pretty much has to take place on SNU’s campus. I know that taking students out to build relationships is important to professors and staff and is part of the overall mission of the university. We have to be more creative with our mentoring opportunities now.” Ikerd said.

    She has also worked closely with Bethany First Church of the Nazarene (BFC) to ensure that events and services provided through BFC’s college ministry and the like has not conflicted with the NCAA rules.

   Ikerd said, “I’ve heard of some pretty goofy cases of extra benefits violations in NCAA, like a student athlete washing her car with the hose from the athletic department so she had to repay for the water she used.”

    SNU students have taken the extra benefits rule to heart. “I heard a story of a group of football players who were out to dinner and a professor saw them. He offered to pay for the group’s dinner but the young men stopped him, saying it would be a rules violation. I am very proud of them,” says Ikerd.

    In addition, there is the challenge of social media, a new issue throughout society but also in the compliance world. Student-athletes can get in trouble with the NCAA for posting inappropriate content on social media and for endorsing products. Ikerd was awarded a grant from the NCAA to bring FieldHouse Media to campus in the fall. FieldHouse Media coaches student-athletes on how to brand themselves on social media and create a positive image.

   “Product promotion can be tricky. A student-athlete can say ‘I’m headed to Chick-Fil-A,’ but he or she can’t say ‘Chick-Fil-A has the greatest lemonade on the planet,’” Ikerd explains.

    Student-Athletes have adjusted to the NCAA regulations.

  1. Well done Grace! I understand this as well as anyone after being involved in SNU athletics and experiencing the stricter changes being implemented. During season I had to catch myself from posting something that might sound like product promotion on social media many times!!! Great topic choice.