The U is in the process of revising the student-athlete conduct code. Do you have any insightful comments on the first draft?
The University of Montana Student-Athlete Conduct Code
This Student-Athlete Conduct Code is designed to alert you, the student-athlete, to the behavior expected of you, and to the consequences your behavior may have on your status as a student-athlete.
Participation in intercollegiate athletics at The University of Montana is a privilege that carries responsibilities and not a right. There may be times when these responsibilities involve sacrifice that might not be necessary if you were not a student athlete. As a student athlete, you benefit by having the opportunity to develop your potential as a skilled performer; to grow emotionally, socially and intellectually; to travel and represent UM Intercollegiate Athletics; and to learn to be a productive team member. Intercollegiate Athletics is pleased that you are a student athlete and proud to have you represent the University in athletic competition.
The University expects you to train and strive for athletic excellence, to demonstrate academic honesty and integrity and to conduct yourself as a responsible citizen.
Being a student-athlete carries with it special expectations because you are a student-athlete. Because of the public nature of competition, you are more visible to the community than a non-student-athlete. Through your participation on an athletic team, you become a representative of The University of Montana and Intercollegiate Athletics. It is expected, therefore, that you will conduct yourself in a manner that brings pride to your team, the department, and the campus.
Use of alcohol can impair your ability to make good judgments and results in unbecoming behavior. If witnessed by others, it can reflect negatively not only on yourself, but on your team, the department, and the university. Therefore, it is the policy of UM Intercollegiate Athletics that during home contests (from the time you report on-call until the time your coach releases you), away contests and the travel time to and from away competitions, the use of alcohol is prohibited by all team members. Further, underage drinking is illegal and is prohibited at all times. Violations of this policy could result in suspension from the team, loss of athletics aid, or being withheld from participation for a period of time.
All student-athletes are members of The University of Montana's student body. You are a student first, and your participation in intercollegiate athletics derives from your status as a student. Accordingly, all University policies governing student conduct apply to you.
Your participation in the University's intercollegiate athletics program is also governed by the policies and procedures of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA); the Big Sky Conference (Big Sky); the Board of Regents of Higher Education, State of Montana; and all University of Montana's Department of Athletics' rules and procedures as set forth in the Student-Athlete Handbook.
The Department of Athletics may take action under this Student-Athlete Conduct Code regarding your participation in the University's intercollegiate athletics program, including the awarding, renewal, and modification of a scholarship that you may now have. This Conduct Code is intended to complement, not replace, conduct rules that your sport team has adopted, including consequences for violating those team rules.
The authority to enforce the policies of the Student-Athlete Conduct Code and impose penalties lies with the Student-Athlete Conduct Team (SACT), which consists of the Athletic Director, Senior Associate Athletic Director, and Faculty Athletic Representative.
II. Policies on Misconduct for University of Montana Student-Athletes
There are two types of misconduct that may affect your ability to participate in the University's intercollegiate athletic program: "Category I Violation" and "Category II Violation."
A. Category I Violation
Category I violation occurs in any situation where an individual:
• Is charged with a felony and, in looking at the totality of the circumstances, it is reasonable to believe the person committed the act (e.g., DUI, rape, assault, theft, etc.); or
• Violates a term of probation or other condition imposed by a court in a criminal proceeding; or
• Is found to have engaged in conduct that is deemed inappropriate, reckless, inciting, or malicious (e.g., vandalism, destruction of University property, assault of another person, etc.) and brings embarrassment to the team, Department of Athletics and campus.
• Preliminary Action: The SACT shall take preliminary action to temporarily suspend a student-athlete from participation in practice or competition and/or access to athletic department services when it has verified that felony criminal charges have been filed against a student-athlete or when there is specific and credible information (e.g., arrest records, statements of law enforcement officers, University records, third-party or witness statements, or acknowledgement by the student-athlete) for reasonably believing that a student-athlete may have committed a Category I violation. This suspension is indefinite pending the outcome of disciplinary and/or criminal proceedings.
B. Category II Violation
Category II violation occurs in any situation where an individual:
• Is charged with or receives a citation for a disorderly-person offense and, in looking at the totality of the circumstances, it is reasonable to believe that the person committed the act (e.g., open container, false identification, public urination, underage possession of alcohol, provision of alcohol to minors, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, etc.); or
• Has violated University policies, rules, and/or regulations, including:
o The University of Montana's Student Conduct Code;
o Academic dishonesty in violation of University, college, school, or department standards; or
o Willfully giving false and malicious information to a University official.
• Is found to have engaged in conduct that is deemed inappropriate, reckless, inciting, or malicious and brings embarrassment to the team, Department of Athletics and campus, but does not rise to the threshold of a major violation.
A. The offending student-athlete shall immediately notify his/her Head Coach of any violation of the UM Student-Athlete Conduct Code, or State of Montana and Federal civil and criminal laws in which “police” have become involved (e.g., University of Montana Public Safety Officers, Missoula Police, Missoula County Sheriff, Montana Highway Patrol, etc.). Noncompliance with this requirement could result in a more serious sanction.
B. The Head Coach shall immediately notify the Athletic Director or Senior Associate Athletic Director of the violation. The Athletic Director shall notify the President and/or his designee.
IV. Penalty Schedule
Sanctions for Category I and II violations shall follow the schedule below, with the following guidelines.
• Category II violations are considered within a two-year rolling cycle in order to determine which offense (first, second, etc.) has been committed. Category I violations have no such rolling cycle and are acted upon.
• After a student-athlete commits a Category I violation, subsequent Category II violations will result in a department sanction consistent with a second or third Category II offense.
• For multi-sport student-athletes, sanctions will be imposed during the season in which the offense occurs or in the immediately next sport season if the offense occurs out of season.
• The withholding of information in an attempt to evade punishment under this penalty schedule is subject to further penalties as appropriate.
• In cases where there is ambiguity about the Category status of a penalty (or about whether the Penalty Schedule-see Table 1-should be invoked at all), the SACT will use all available information and determine whether the violation is Category I or II.
• Nothing in this code shall be construed to prevent the University and the Department of Athletics from imposing disciplinary proceedings pending final adjudication in a court of law.
• The Penalty Schedule provides minimum penalties. Additional or more severe penalties can be imposed at the discretion of the SACT based on the severity of the act and aggravating circumstances.
• The SACT may revoke or modify athletically-related financial aid as a consequence of any and all Category I misconduct. Action to revoke or modify athletically-related financial aid will be in accordance with NCAA procedures and University procedures, as outlined in the Student-Athlete Handbook.
Table 1: Penalty Schedule
Category II Category I
First Offense: Choice of the following depending on nature of offense: Minimum of one contest suspension
-Mandatory alcohol/drug counseling
-Letter of apology
Second Offense Minimum of one contest suspension Minimum suspension of 30% of scheduled contests
Third Offense Minimum suspension of 25% of scheduled contests Dismissal from team
Fourth Offense Dismissal from team
• A student-athlete may appeal any sanction that suspends participation in practice, competition, and/or services provided by the Department of Athletics. (Procedures for appealing a revocation or modification of athletically-related financial aid can be found in the Financial Aid/Scholarship Policies section of this handbook.)
• A student-athlete may not contest on appeal:
o Any underlying determination of responsibility rendered by a court or other civil authority; or
o Any underlying determination of responsibility rendered by a University official or hearing body in accordance with official procedures.
• If there is a substantial change in circumstances affecting a student-athlete who has been suspended from participation in practice, competition, and/or services provided by the Department of Athletics, the student-athlete may petition the SACT to review the changed circumstances. If circumstances warrant a change in a suspension, a student-athlete may be reinstated by the SACT to resume participation in practice, competition, and/or services provided by the Department of Athletics.
• Dismissal or reduction of a criminal charge is a change of circumstance that may or may not justify revision of a suspension from participation in practice, competition, and/or services provided by the Department of Athletics.
• The student-athlete shall submit in writing to the Senior Associate Athletic Director a request for appeal of imposed sanction(s). The request shall provide a summary of the student’s reason for requesting the appeal.
• The SACT shall meet with the student.
• In making its decision, the SACT shall take into consideration the student-athlete’s attitude and demeanor, mitigating factors, the student-athlete’s past disciplinary record, the nature of the present offense, and the severity of any damage, injury, or harm resulting from the offense.
• The Senior Associate Athletic Director will notify the student-athlete in writing of the decision of the SACT.
• All decisions of the SACT are final.
VI. Records and Privacy
Records of misconduct and actions taken shall be maintained in the student-athlete’s record in the Office of the Senior Associate Athletic Director. These records are subject to state and federal privacy protection, as well as University policies regarding confidentiality.
Notification to the public regarding the student-athlete’s eligibility for intercollegiate competition shall be limited to name and eligibility status, public information, and information that is not part of the education record subject to the privacy protections noted above.
VII. Review of Policy
This Code of Conduct shall be reviewed annually by the University Athletic Committee.