Comprehensive Action Plan (CAP)
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Virginia Tech Comprehensive Action Plan
Feb. 14, 1997
A Comprehensive Action Plan to Address Student-Athlete Behavior
Table of Contents
II. The Recruiting Process
III. Encouraging Appropriate Behavior
App. A Mission Statement of VT Athletic Department
App. B Modifications to Student-Athlete Handbook
App. C Conduct Resolution
The profile of intercollegiate athletics has risen in recent years. As sports teams garner ever increasing media attention, so too have the off-field problems of athletes been spotlighted for media scrutiny. Virginia Tech has not been excluded from this unfortunate turn of events.
University officials, coaches, faculty, alumni and players are embarassed and upset by arrests of Virginia Tech student-athletes. It reflects poorly on the university, the integrity of all athletes, and the program in general. It is utterly incompatible with the character of our university community and completely unacceptable. It detracts from the remarkable success Virginia Tech student-athletes have achieved in recent years on the field and in the classroom. Accordingly, at the conclusion of the 1996 football season President Paul Torgeson asked Athletic Director David Braine to lead a group representing a cross-section of the university to review current department policies relative to student-athlete off-field behavior and develop a series of recommendations that would minimize future occurrences.
Committee members include:
Frank Beamer, Head Football Coach
David Braine, Athletic Director, Chair of the Committee
Elyzabeth Holford, Director, Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action
Arthur Keown, Chairman, University Athletics Committee
Larry Killough, Faculty Representative, NCAA
Steve Leist, Coordinator, Leadership and Greek Life.
Paul Metz, President of the Faculty Senate
Quinton Nottingham, Assistant Professor, Management Science
Derita Ratcliffe, Director of Student Life, Department of Athletics
Shawn Scales, Student-athlete
President's Liaison to the Committe: Kay Heidbreder, Legal Counsel
Secretary to the Committee: Larry Hinckner, Associate Vice President for University Relations
The development of this plan and the subsequent recommendations have been driven by three areas of concern: (1) recruitment of student-athletes capable of succeeding in a collegiate environment, (2) the encouragement of appropriate behavior and (3) sanctions in response to inappropriate behavior among student-athletes.
Clearly stated expectations enable a student to achieve athletic and academic goals. Athletes must understand that there is a standard to be met on and off the field. If they do not meet that standard, they will not have the privilege of playing their sport or representing their university. A set of clear expectations, strong support services, and clearly understood sanctions for misbehavior can also work at Virginia Tech. The university can mount successful athletic programs with athletes of high moral character by working together across the institution to set and enforce ethical, moral, and legal standards.
Student-athletes make an enormous contribution to the institution as a consequence of their athletic performances. It is entirely appropriate that the university mount additional programs to provide an environment in which they can mature as individuals, participate in their sport, and also succeed in achieving their academic goals. Recent events have made it clear that more needs to be done. Unfortunately, a cure for the recent behavioral problems is not simple. In order to povide an environment in which these transgressions are not repeated and the student-athletes are allowed to grow into solid citizens on campus, a multi-faceted approach is proposed.
The mission statement of the Virginia Tech Athletic Department (see Appendix A) states, in part, that its mission is to (1) attract the most promising students to our campus and (2) to help instill teamwork, fair play, social development, and a sense of responsibility in those student-athletes under its charge. Those two charges underlie the findings and recommendations of this action plan.
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IV. Sanctions for Inappropriate Behavior Among Student Athletes
The Virginia Tech Athletic Department requires administrators, coaches, trainers, and staff to conduct themselves in a manner that creates a positive image of the people associated with the department. Similarly, student-athletes are expected to uphold the same standards of conduct and to be positive role models within the academic and athletic community. The committee recognizes that the clear statement of sanctions is a necessary component in addressing inappropriate behavior. Situations can be more clearly and objectively resolved when such a statement exists.
Proposed Sanctions for Inappropriate Behavior (Note that these recommendations are written in language as they would appear in the Student-Athlete Handbook.)
Felony Charge - Any student-athlete arrested and charged with a felony, or with a crime involving gambling or game fixing under Virginia law or any other jurisdictional equivalent, shall be suspended automatically from practice and playing privileges until the charges are dropped, dismissed or otherwise resolved. The student-athlete may appeal this decision pursuant to the Appeals Procedure found in this Handbook.
Felony Conviction - Any student-athlete convicted of or pleading guilty or no contest to a felony charge or a game fixing charge under Virginia law or any other jurisdictional equivalent shall be permanently dismissed from the team. The athlete shall retain his/her grant-in-aid for the balance of the academic year. The Athletic Department shall recommend to the Scholarship Committee in the Virginia Tech Office of Financial Aid that the grant-in-aid shall not be renewed for any succeeding academic years. The student-athlete may appeal this decision pursuant to the Appeals Procedure found in this Handbook. NOTE: Student-athletes involved in gambling violations shall be subject to the sanctions contained in Section 10.4 of the NCAA Manual.
Misdemeanor Charge and/or Conviction - Any student-athlete who is arrested, charged and/or convicted of a misdemeanor charge (other than gambling or game fixing whih are addressed above and other than minor traffic infractions) will be subject to a review process. The Athletic Director will review the charges and all the surrounding circumstances. The Athletic Director may then impose sanctions. The factors which the Athletic Director will consider include, but are not limited to:
A. Nature of charge (violent or non-violent)
Sanctions imposed by the Athletic Director can include, but shall not be limited to:
B. Prior behavior
C. Self Disclosure of the violation
D. Cooperation during the investigation
E. Alcohol and/or drug use
F. Consistency with regard to handling of other cases
C. Restricted use of athletic services or facilities
D. Suspension from play and/or practice for a stated period of time
E. Dismissal from the team (only available for a conviction or if the student-athlete pleads guilty or no contest to a misdemeanor). In the event of dismissal from the team, the student-athlete shall retain her/his grant-in-aid for the balance of the academic year. The Athletic Department shall recommend to the Scholarship Committee in the Virginia Tech Office of Financial Aid that the grant-in-aid not be renewed for any succeeding academic years.
This review process will be used when Athletic Department employees first learn of the charge and/or arrest. This review process will also be utilized again, in its entirety, if there is then a conviction resulting from the charge and/or arrest. The student-athlete may appeal any decision made pursuant to this review process by following the Appeals Procedure found in this Handbook.
Virginia Tech Code of Student Conduct: At the discretion of the Athletic Director, the process in this Handbook which is followed for a misdemeanor charge and/or conviction may be used in the event that a student-athlete is found guilty of a violation of the Virginia Tech Code of Student Conduct contained in the University Policies for Student Life.
Privacy Concerns: In recognition of each student-athlete's right to privacy, sanctions imposed under these procedures will not be announced publicly.
Appeals Procedure: Any student-athlete sanctioned under these procedures may appeal within five wroking days, in writing to the Athletic Director. In the even of an appeal, a Review Committee shall consider all factors, including any extenuating circumstances. The student-athlete may appear personally before the committee, with or without a representative of her/his own choosing from the members of the university community. The Review Committee shall be composed of:
A. The President (or designee)
B. The Athletic Director
C. The NCAA Faculty Representative (who shall chair the committee)
Within five working days after hearing the appeal, the Committee shall issue its decision which shall be final with no further right of review.
There are a numberr of concerns within the college community as a whole and the Athletic Department in particular regarding the inappropriate behavior of students. It is generally accepted that the excessive and/or illegal consumption of alcohol is at the root of many of the problems relative to athletic behavior. As a result, a great deal of thoughts and debate was centered around how to most effectively deal with this issue. Continuing and comprehensive education is necessary to educate the young men and women about the possible dangers associated with the excessive and/or illegal consumption or alcohol and other drugs
It is also of the opinion of this committee that the clearly stated behavior expectations and consequences for failure to meet those expectations will serve the corrective function intended. This committee hopes that the recommendations set forth in this document will significantly reduce the chance of inappropriate behavior among student-athletes.
The committee understands that many of these proposals will require significant costs to implement. University administrators will have to make resources allocations based on the priority and need of the selected recommendations versus funding available.
Mission of the Virginia Tech Athletic Department
Intercollegiate athletics form the front porch of a university. They generate the greatest interest among students, faculty, administrators, and staff on a campus; they attract the largest number of alumni and friends to a campus.
In addition, they can call national attention not only to that school but to the school's state as well.
Athletic programs are one of the few rallying points for people of all ages and all backgrounds. They lure more graduates to the campus than any other function. As numerous studies show, they directly and indirectly generate significant funds for the university.
The Virginia Tech Athletic Department seeks always to promote those traditional sentiments. It does so with a mission that is fivefold:
As an integral part of the University system, the Athletic Department is committed to working closely with every academic agency on behalf of a student-athlete's welfare. Admissions and academic progress are closely monitored by appropriate University officers. The granting of athletic scholarships is in full compliance with NCAA regulations.
- to attract the most promising students to our campus;
- to assist faculty and staff in providing quality education to those young men and women as they strive toward their goal of a college degree;
- to help instill teamwork, fair play, social development, and a sense of responsibility in those student-athletes under our charge;
- to strive always to be athletically competitive with peer institutions;
- to have the kind of program of which every supporter of Virginia Tech can take pride.
We strongly believe the student-athlete to be first and foremost a student. At the same time however, the dividends gained through athletic competition -- integrity, equal opportunity, being a good sport in victory and defeat, working together towards common goals, personal development of mind and body, the skills of leadership -- all will enliven and enrich the life of any Virginia Tech student who participates in University athletic programs.
Our overriding goal continues to be a combination of excellence in both athletic competition and academic achievement. We cannot aspire for more; we will not settle for less.
Modifications to the Student-Athlete Handbook
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E. Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Use
The Virginia Tech Athletic Department condemns the use of any illegal chemicals by anyone including student-athletes. We condemn the abuse of alcohol by anyone including student-athletes and we further condemn the use of alcohol by individuals under the age of 21. We maintain a substance abuse program as an effort to:
- Assist student-athletes in avoiding improper involvement with drugs or alcohol;
- Detect Possible use of prohibited drugs;
- Aid in the rehabilitation of student-athletes who are misusing drugs; and
- Remove from our athletic programs any student-athletes who have violated the law, the NCAA regulations, the policies of this department and/or the policies of their team