School Membership Discipline Committee Meeting

Introduction

As the governing body for school sport in British Columbia, BC School Sports (BCSS) has a strong history of using a committee structure to oversee the running of our organization.

The School Membership Disciplinary Committee (SMDC) convenes when issues of compliance with the Rules and Regulations arise. The SMDC is to meet as soon as possible (within twenty (20) working days of receipt of the initial charge). The SMDC designated in 3.2.2.1 of the Constitution and Bylaws, after investigating the charges, shall rule on one of the points listed in 3.2.2.4.

During the process of rebuilding the registration system for the 440 schools and the 100,000 student-athletes involved in school sport in BC, the office staff have found some issues with the student transfer processes that some schools were using in the Exnet system. Some of these could be easily corrected by BCSS staff, for some the schools were contacted and the issues are quickly fixed and some were more complex. This process is still ongoing and will continue until Exnet is cleaned up.

Facts

At the end of November, BCSS staff discovered that a member school was using the rule D9.8.5 of the Rules and Regulations “District Academic Program” to register incoming students to their International Baccalaureate (IB) and French Immersion (FI) programs. D9.8.5 is for students who attend a short term program at a different school and are only eligible to compete for their original school under this rule.

This member school has both IB and FI programs.  The Pre IB grade 10 program takes in approximately 120 students per year and the IB grade 11 program takes in 135 students per year.  Not all students are from outside of the school.

Over the last 5 years over 150 students were transferred by this school on Exnet using the D9.8.5 rule and not the proper process of doing an application to the Eligibility Officer. Some students would have been immediately eligible, some would not have been deemed eligible and some would have required further information.

There were also other student-athletes that were transferred into the school for other reasons.  The eligibility of these student-athletes was considered as well.

Timeline

November 15, 2013 – BCSS became aware of the incorrect transfers on Exnet

December 3, 2013 – Christine Bradstock, BCSS Executive Director met with representatives from the school, explained the situation and requested that Eligibility Applications be sent in for all students who would not be considered eligible.

December 17, 2013 – The first 5 eligibility applications were submitted to the Eligibility Officer.

January, 2014 – E-mails were exchanged, some applications and other documents were submitted but not everything.

January 27, 2014 – SMDC met to consider facts, review documentation and make a decision regarding discipline.  Representatives from the school were invited and encouraged to attend, they elected not to come.

February 2014 – SMDC requested more information and a second and third meeting occurred. The school attended the third meeting.

Issues

The SMDC has looked at the data and assessed the situation in two ways:

  1. Looking closely at nearly 150 student-athlete transfers that occurred over the last 5 years: it was determined that the proper process of transferring student-athletes into this school had not been followed. Most of these transfer reasons were listed as D9.8.5 District Academic Program when in fact they were students entering the IB and FI programs. There were some student-athletes that were transferred in without going through any process at all. The amount of time taken to go through the list was long but the SMDC was pleased to do the process so that they understood the situation in detail.
  2. Looking at the school’s process with respect to student-athlete transfers and registration: as the job of the SMDC is to determine the discipline of the school member, this is the area that they spent most of their time on when they first met on Monday, January 27; reconvened on Tuesday, February 4; and reconvened again on Friday, February 14.  When a school has not fulfilled their condition for maintenance of membership under Article II 2.3 then the SMDC can rule under Article III of the Constitution and Bylaws.

Submissions

The SMDC respectfully leaves the decision of each individual student-athletes eligibility up to the BCSS office and the Eligibility Officer for their determination.

School administration acknowledged that proper practice had not been followed in the past. Practice was the responsibility of AD, who is now moved to a different school.  The school has submitted over 25 Eligibility Applications to date for students who had already played. As a result of these applications, most students were deemed eligible, some students were deemed not eligible and some games were forfeited.

Analysis

It was the wish of the SMDC and of BCSS to have as many student-athletes as possible properly registered online, and to be able to be eligible and play school sports.  The SMDC and BCSS both wished to have the Athletic Director and school Administration understand the rules and be positively engaged in the school sport community.  It is also the hope that the member school take responsibility for their job of ensuring that student-athletes are eligible before playing, and that proper process is followed to ensure student-athletes were eligible.

Conclusion

The SMDC has ruled under 3.2.2.4 (b) (iv) of the Constitution and Bylaws with the following:

  1. A letter of reprimand be sent to the member school administration outlining the violations that were discovered and an acknowledgment of the willingness of the school to work cooperatively and proactively with BCSS in the future to ensure all instances of student-transfer and athletic eligibility are managed according to BCSS policy and regulations.
  2. A probationary period is waived due to the fact that it is a first offense.
  3. Prior to September 30, 2014 the member school’s Athletic Director initiate and schedule an in person meeting with the Executive Director of BCSS at the BCSS office. During this meeting they will review expected practices, procedures and the applicable regulations and processes in place with regard to student-athlete eligibility.  This is intended to ensure that there is an educative and supportive component that is put in place to avoid errors in the interpretation of student-athlete transfer eligibility in the future.
  4. A fine of $2000 that will cover the out of pocket expenses associated with this process.
  5. A report to be completed by the BCSS office that outlines the process, nature of the violations and the disciplinary outcome. This report will be posted in the next BCSS newsletter for the purpose of informing all member schools about the process as well as to assist in educating them.  The member school will not be named in the newsletter.

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