According to the facts submitted by the university, Byrd and his family received approximately $2,700 in recruiting inducements and impermissible benefits. These were provided by a University of South Carolina booster during Byrd’s recruitment at the institution. The impermissible benefits included lodging, transportation and meals during multiple unofficial visits to the University of South Carolina. It also included several parties at the booster’s home and gift cards.
During the student-athlete reinstatement process, the staff considers a number of factors, including guidelines established by the Division I NCAA Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement for the type of violations and value of benefits, if a significant competitive advantage was gained, the student-athlete’s responsibility for the violations and any mitigating circumstances presented by the school, among other factors.
“Our members have continually made it clear boosters and other third parties do not have a place in recruiting student-athletes,” said Kevin Lennon, vice president of academic and membership affairs. “The reinstatement process is in place to ensure accountability and in this case, multiple benefits were provided to the student-athlete and his family over a significant amount of time.”
When a school discovers an NCAA rules violation has occurred, it must declare the student-athlete ineligible and may request the student-athlete’s eligibility be reinstated. The NCAA staff reviews each student-athlete’s reinstatement request individually based on its own merits and set of specific facts, which are agreed upon by the university and the NCAA enforcement staff.
The university can appeal any student-athlete reinstatement decision to the Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement, an independent panel comprised of representatives from NCAA member colleges, university and athletic conferences who are not directly affiliated with the university. This committee can reduce or remove the condition, but it cannot increase the staff-imposed conditions. If appealed, the student-athlete remains ineligible until the conclusion of the appeals process.
The reinstatement process typically concludes prior to the close of the enforcement investigation, which must determine the university’s responsibility for violations. While it depends on the complexity of the case, most student-athlete reinstatement requests are resolved in about a week after the school has provided a complete request and the reinstatement staff has all the necessary information. In contrast an enforcement investigation, which also varies in length depending on the complexity, must look at the totality of issues and takes an average of 11 months. For this reason, student-athlete reinstatement decisions do not signal that an enforcement investigation is complete.