College Student Defense

Disciplinary Matters within Athletic Programs

By November 21, 2018 No Comments

College football season is just around the corner. It’s almost the time of year where fans across the country block off every Saturday until the new year to cheer on their favorite teams.  Each team has their own “star” player, and millions of fans will come out to their teams’ stadiums, sporting jerseys and paraphernalia for their favorite student athletes. While these “stars” are extremely talented and entertaining to watch, it is sometimes easy to forget that these student athletes are in fact students.

Student athletes are held to a higher standard than the average university student. Not only do they have to abide by their individual school’s student code of conduct, but they also have to strictly adhere to their college or university’s student-athlete handbook, their conference bylaws, and all National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) regulations. These regulations outline all a student athlete must do in order to maintain eligibility to play their sport.

While specific guidelines may differ between schools, divisions, sports, conferences, etc., these regulations typically cover areas, such as:

  • Recruitment regulations
  • Academic requirements (minimum GPA requirements, study hour requirements, course hour requirements, financial aid policies, academic integrity policies, etc.)
  • Athletic requirements (practice regulations, workout requirements, years of eligibility, etc.)
  • Drug and alcohol policies for banned performance enhancing substances, recreational drug use, underage alcohol consumption, etc.
  • Hazing policies
  • Ethical conduct policies (sportsmanship, fair play, etc.)
  • Extra benefit policies (gift regulations, etc.)


To whom much is given, much is expected, and thus, the life of a student athlete comes with heavy potential costs if a violation of student-athlete rules and regulations occurs. Possible punishments range in severity from a “slap on the wrist” to pretty harsh consequences.

Possible sanctions and penalties for student athletes vary depending on the specific offense but can include and are not limited to:

  • Practice or game suspensions
  • Probation, suspension, or removal from team
  • Loss of scholarship and/or scholarship

Unfortunately, examples of student athlete misconduct occur and are frequent in the news cycle throughout each sports’ season. Just a few weeks ago, six University of Florida football players faced disciplinary action due to an on-campus altercation that occurred in May. While punishment has not been decided for these players, they are currently having to go through university proceedings that could result in university consequences on top of any athletic ones.

It is clear to see that if you are a student athlete accused of a violation, the consequences can get rather serious rather quickly.

It is crucial that you contact an attorney experienced with defending clients against a variety of violations in university disciplinary systems and criminal courts. DC Student Defense lawyers have experience practicing and litigating in both the criminal defense system and university disciplinary systems, and they are experienced in guiding students and their families through singular or parallel proceedings, allowing for minimum stress and disruption to the student’s education and athletic participation.

These materials have been prepared by WGW for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed as legal advice.

Ansley Seay

Author Ansley Seay

Ansley Seay grew up in Columbia, SC before attending the Calhoun Honors College at Clemson University, where she completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Legal Studies. At Clemson, Ansley was a member of the Rally Cat dance team, Student Alumni Council, and Alpha Delta Pi sorority. In her free time, Ansley served as a mentor, classroom assistant, and meal volunteer with ClemsonLIFE, Clemson’s post-secondary education program for young adults with special needs. Ansley began interning at Wu, Grohovsky, & Whipple in June of 2017. She now serves the firm as a paralegal and plans to attend law school in the fall of 2019.

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