Participation in intercollegiate athletics is a privilege that carries a tremendous amount of responsibility for the student-athlete. As the University of Houston's most visible ambassadors, student-athletes are expected to uphold high standards of integrity and behavior that will reflect well upon themselves, their families, coaches, teammates, the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and the University of Houston.
In keeping with our mission statement, this policy is meant to ensure the department is in strict adherence with NCAA, Office of Civil Rights, Conference USA and University of Houston rules and regulations while also building and strengthening relationships throughout the University of Houston campus and the Houston community.
Student-athletes are expected to demonstrate exemplary behavior and performance as representatives of the University of Houston, to respect the rights of others and abide by all applicable laws as well as rules and regulations of the University of Houston, Conference USA, the NCAA and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.
Failure to comply with said rules may result in suspension, probation or dismissal from the team; non-renewal of athletic financial aid; or expulsion from the University as outlined under University of Houston, Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, Conference USA and NCAA rules. While student-athletes are held accountable by the same policies and procedures as other University students as outlined in the University of Houston Student Handbook, they are held to additional standards.
Federal, state and local laws, as well as NCAA, Conference USA and University of Houston policies clearly outline appropriate citizen and student-athlete conduct. The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics Student-Athlete Code of Conduct is not intended to supersede these laws and policies, but to set high standards relating to the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics expectations of how student-athletes represent the University of Houston and to state the potential consequences for those student-athletes who make poor choices which reflect negatively upon themselves, teammates and the University. To the extent there is any conflict between this Student-Athlete Code of Conduct and any applicable law, NCAA policy, Conference USA policy, or University of Houston policy, the applicable, law, NCAA policy, Conference USA policy, or University of Houston policy will be controlling.
II. EXPECTATIONS FOR UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON STUDENT-ATHLETES
It is important student-athletes have an understanding of the additional responsibilities they accept when they become members of an intercollegiate athletics team. Such responsibilities include: performing to the best of your ability academically and athletically; contributing your best efforts toward successful team performance; contributing on and off the field in a manner that reflects positively on you, your team, the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and the University of Houston. Because participating in athletics is a privilege, not a right, there may be times when these responsibilities involve sacrifice, which might not be necessary for other university students. Student-athletes are members of a highly visible community within the larger university community. Many more people will know you, although you may not know them. The success of our athletic programs depends on the confidence and support of the public. Student-athletes, coaches and staff gain this confidence through exemplary performance both on and off the playing field.
Student-athletes are held accountable to the same policies and procedures as other university students outlined in the University Of Houston Student Handbook, www.uh.edu/dos/hdbk.
Student-athletes are subject to the rules and regulations of the NCAA governing unsportsmanlike conduct, non-therapeutic drug use, gambling and bribery and the acceptance of non-permissible awards, benefits and expenses (NCAA manual page 233).
Student-athletes are subject to all Department of Intercollegiate Athletics rules and policies, as stated in the Student-Athlete Handbook (pages 39-123) and in other department publications including, but not limited to, those regarding the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE), Sports Performance, Sports Medicine and the Athletic Equipment room.
Each sport's head coach establishes team rules for student-athletes and his/her staff within the parameters set by the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and the university. The head coach informs team members of the established team and training rules at the beginning of the academic year.
Failure to comply with team, Department of Intercollegiate Athletics or University policies may result in disciplinary probation or dismissal from the squad and non-renewal of athletic financial aid.
From the University of Houston Student Handbook:
The University of Houston, as an educational institution, has a special set of interests and purposes essential to its effective functioning. These include (a) the opportunity for students to attain their educational objectives, (b) the creation and maintenance of an intellectual and educational atmosphere throughout the University and (c) the protection of the health, safety, welfare, property and human rights of all members of the University and the property of the University itself. The University has a clear responsibility in the area of student conduct to protect and promote the pursuit of its goals. The Student Disciplinary Policies and Procedures emphasize the University's obligation to promote the person¬al freedom, maturity and responsibility of students.<
The Student Disciplinary Policies and Procedures set forth those acts that constitute unacceptable conduct for students of the University. A student admitted to the University of Houston accepts the responsibility to conform to all University of Houston rules and regulations.
The below actions (among others) are prohibited by University policies, state law, and/or federal law:
Academic dishonesty, including all forms of cheating, plagiarism and fabrication in the process of completing academic work.
DID YOU KNOW that working together with teammates on an on-line, open book exam is cheating?
Sexual offenses of any kind, including acquaintance rape and assault of a sexual nature.
DID YOU KNOW that only 3% of assault claims are false?
DID YOU KNOW that 80-90% of victims/assailants know each other?
DID YOU KNOW that 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted by the end of her college career?
Actual or attempted abuse of any person or conduct which threatens or endangers the health and safety of a person or which intentionally causes a reasonable apprehension of harm to any person.
DID YOU KNOW this could mean threatening anyone on-line or in person using certain words or gestures if it meets the standard above?
Hazing is defined by Texas law and means any action taken or a situation created which, regardless of intent or consent of the participants:
a. Produces or is reasonably likely to produce, bodily harm or danger, mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, fright, humiliation or ridicule or otherwise compromises the dignity of an individual;
b. Compels an individual to participate in any activity which is unlawful and/or contrary to the rules, policies and regulations of the University;
c. Will, unreasonably or unusually, impair an individual's academic efforts; and/or
d. Occurs on or off campus.
Examples of actions and activities which are explicitly prohibited include but are not limited to the following:
a. Compelling individuals to consume alcohol or drugs.
b. Paddling in any form, shoving or otherwise striking individuals.
c. Compelling individuals to wear or carry unusual, uncomfortable, degrading or physically burdensome articles or apparel.
d. Compelling individuals to engage in sexual behaviors, sexual or racial harassment or slurs or exhibitionism.
e. Depriving individuals of the opportunity for sufficient sleep, decent edible meals or access to means of bodily cleanliness.
f. Activities which impair an individual's academic efforts by causing exhaustion, loss of sleep or reasonable study time or by preventing an individual from attending class.
g. The creation of excessive fatigue by participation in physically demanding activities (calisthenics runs, etc.).
h. Compelling individuals to eat or drink unusual sub¬stances or compelling the consumption of undue amounts or odd preparations of food.
i. Having substances thrown at, poured on or otherwise applied to the bodies of individuals.
j. Morally degrading or humiliating games or any other activities which make an individual the object of amusement, ridicule or intimidation.
k. Transporting individuals against their will, abandoning individuals at distant locations or conducting any "kid¬nap," "ditch" or "road trip" that may in any way endanger or compromise the health, safety or comfort of any individual.
l. Causing an individual to be indecently exposed or exposed to the elements.
m. Requiring an individual to remain in a fixed position for a long period of time.
n. Compelling an individual to be branded or tattooed.
o. "Line-ups" involving intense shouting of obscenities or insults.
p. Compelling individuals to participate in activities (pranks, scavenger hunts, etc.) which encourage the defacement of property; engagement in theft; harassment other individuals, groups of individuals or organizations; or disruption of normal activities of the University.
q. Tests of courage, bravery, stamina or sexuality.
r. Intentionally deceiving members, prior to initiation, to make them believe they will not be initiated.
s. Intentionally deceiving new members (pledges, associates, initiates, etc.) to make them think they will be struck or hurt.
t. Excluding an individual from social contact for pro¬longed periods of time.
u. Compelling an individual to engage in acts of personal servitude.
DID YOU KNOW that requiring freshmen on your team to shave their heads could be considered hazing?
Sexual or racial harassment or harassment of any sort.
DID YOU KNOW that using certain nicknames or telling ethnic jokes, could constitute harassment depending on the frequency and severity of the actions?
Illegal use, possession or sale of intoxicating beverages.
Knowingly making alcohol available to an individual under 21 years of age is illegal.
DID YOU KNOW that hosting a tailgate or party where alcohol is available to minors could be considered illegal?
DID YOU KNOW that student-athletes are forbidden to drink at UH Athletic events even if over the age of 21 and invited to do so by alumni or donors?
Illegal use, possession, manufacture, sale or distribution of any narcotic or dangerous drugs.
DID YOU KNOW that giving your Adderall to a teammate to help him study could be considered illegal?
Illegal possession, carrying or discharge of any explosive, firearm or other weapon.
DID YOU KNOW that people living in a household with a gun are five times more likely to commit suicide than those living in a gun-free home and that most homicides result from arguments between people who know each other?
Computer abuses as defined in the University of Houston Student Handbook.
DID YOU KNOW that all websites you visit, emails or documents you create on University or UH Athletics computers can be retrieved even if you delete them AND could be subject to disclosure via a valid legal subpoena or court order? Students-athletes are expected to comply with local, state and federal laws, as well as policies and regulations of the University of Houston (including this Student-Athlete Code of Conduct and team rules), Conference USA and the NCAA. The University may take action, whether the violation occurs on or off campus and may take action for any aiding, assisting in or serving as an accomplice in the commission of a violation.
III. UNETHICAL CONDUCT
NCAA Bylaw 10.1. Unethical conduct by a prospective or enrolled student-athlete or a current or former institutional staff member (e.g., coach, professor, tutor, teaching assistant and student manager and student trainer) may include, but is not limited to the following:
a. Refusal to furnish information relevant to an investigation of a possible violation of an NCAA regulation when requested to do so by the NCAA or the individual's institution;
b. Knowing involvement in arranging for fraudulent academic credit or false transcripts for a prospective or an enrolled student-athlete;
c. Knowing involvement in offering or providing a prospective or an enrolled student-athlete an improper inducement or extra benefit (any special arrangement by an employee or representative of the institution's athletics interest provided to a student-athlete that is not authorized by NCAA legislation) or improper financial aid;
e. Receipt of benefits by an institutional staff member for facilitating or arranging a meeting between a student-athlete and an agent, financial advisor or a representative of an agent or advisor (e.g., "runner");
f. Knowing involvement in providing a banned substance or impermissible supplement to student-athletes, or knowingly providing medications to student-athletes contrary to medical licensure, commonly accepted standards of care in sports medicine practice or state and federal law;
g. Failure to provide complete and accurate information to the NCAA or institution's admissions office regarding an individual's academic record (e.g., schools attended, completion of coursework, grades and test scores); h. Fraudulence or misconduct in connection with entrance or placement examinations;
i. Engaging in any athletics competition under an assumed name or with intent to otherwise deceive; or
j. Failure to provide complete and accurate information to the NCAA, the NCAA Eligibility Center or UH athletics department regarding an individual's amateur status.
Report all knowledge of possible unethical conduct to the Office of Athletics Compliance.
IV. SANCTIONS FOR VIOLATIONS
The Head Coach of each sport has his/her own set of team rules and is responsible for enforcing these rules on a consistent basis. The University Of Houston Department of Intercollegiate Athletics Administration will fully support appropriate disciplinary action taken by a coach in concurrence with the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. In addition to the sanctions that may be imposed for misconduct as stated in the University of Houston Student Handbook, student-athletes may be suspended by the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics from further participation.
In the case of behavioral problems that result in a felony or misdemeanor charge (other than minor traffic violations), or a charge involving gambling in any degree, the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics may choose to place the student-athlete on suspension from athletic participation and use of athletic facilities until the facts of the incident are reviewed and the charges are dropped, dismissed or otherwise resolved.
If a student-athlete is arrested on- or off-campus, the student-athlete should be aware additional sanctions may be imposed if the behavior violates policies or regulations of the University of Houston (including this Student-Athlete Code of Conduct and team rules), Conference USA or the NCAA. If arrested, student-athletes should immediately contact their Head Coach and the Head Coach should then contact the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and/or his/her designee.
Level 1. Campus, Academic and/or Residence Hall Violations
Citations for violating campus rules or policies (noise, trash, minor in possession, unauthorized visitors) will be handled by Residential Life and Housing and the Dean of Students' Office where appropriate. The Head Coach can also implement sanctions for violations of this type. Violations of the University of Houston academic policies (i.e. plagiarism, cheating, disruptive behavior, other violations of the academic honesty policies) will be handled according to the Academic Honesty Policy and the student disciplinary procedures located in the UH Student Handbook (www.uh.edu/dos/hdbk) as well as the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics Office of Compliance where appropriate.
Level 2. Campus or Department of Intercollegiate Athletics/NCAA Substance Violations
Use of illegal substances - including prescription drugs, steroids, street drugs, performance enhancing drugs, narcotics and pseudo-marijuana/heroin substitutes (i.e. K2, Serenity, Mad Maxx) is addressed in the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics Drug Education and Testing Program (www.uhcougars.com) and will be handled according to the procedures set forth in the Drug Education and Testing Program as well as in accordance with applicable state and federal laws and/or policies or regulations of the University of Houston, Conference USA and NCAA.
Level 3. Misdemeanor Charge / Conviction
A student-athlete who is charged or convicted of a misdemeanor charge (other than gambling / game fixing which are addressed below; or minor traffic violations) will be subject to a Department of Intercollegiate Athletics review process. Absent extraordinary circumstances as determined by the administration, the head coach will administer subsequent discipline, after review by the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. The Director of Intercollegiate Athletics will consider factors such as:
Nature of the offense Involvement of drugs / alcohol Past behavior Student-athlete demeanor (to include self-disclosure of offense) Student-athlete cooperation during investigation
Sanctions will subsequently be imposed, and may include, but not be limited to: Suspension from practice and/or athletic activity for a pre-determined period of time Restriction upon the use of athletic facilities and services Dismissal from the team if the student-athlete is found guilty or pleads guilty or no contest to a misdemeanor Appropriate restitution
Level 4. Felony Charge / Crimes Involving Gambling or Game Fixing
Any student-athlete arrested and charged with a felony or any student-athlete charged with a crime (misdemeanor or felony) involving gambling or game fixing under Texas law, federal law or any other jurisdiction, absent extraordinary circumstances as determined by the administration, shall be automatically suspended from practice and playing until the charges are dropped, dismissed or otherwise resolved.
Level 5. Felony Conviction / Crimes Involving Gambling or Game Fixing
A student-athlete convicted of, or pleading guilty or no contest to any felony charge or a student-athlete charged with a crime (misdemeanor or felony) involving gambling or game fixing under Texas law, Federal law or any other jurisdiction, absent extraordinary circumstances as determined by the administration, shall be permanently dismissed from the team. The Athletic Department will recommend that the student-athlete not have their grant-in-aid renewed for any succeeding academic year(s).
Indefinite suspensions may be instituted in any case where an individual's actions represent the University of Houston and UH Athletics program in a manner inconsistent with this standard of conduct. The Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and head coach will review each case, independent from any other, taking into account no two cases are identical in nature and each must be assessed based upon the facts presented.
Additionally, behaviors judged to represent a violation of the University Of Houston Disciplinary Code could result in sanctions from the University. Depending upon the circumstance, there is the potential for a student-athlete to be dismissed from the University.
V.STUDENT-ATHLETE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA / SOCIAL NETWORKING
Social Media refers to technologies used to communicate information and whose mission is to inform the public. This includes print outlets, traditional radio and television broadcasts and digital media platforms including chat rooms and social networking mechanisms.
Social Networking refers to the use of sites such as Facebook.com, MySpace.com, Twitter, YouTube and others that offer an opportunity to interact socially with new people and connect with friends and family.
The University Of Houston Department Of Intercollegiate Athletics does not restrict use of public media outlets including social networking. However, as a representative of UH Athletics and the University of Houston, you are always in the public eye. Please keep the following in mind as you participate on social networking websites:
Once information is posted, it is in the public domain. It can be accessed and used without your permission or knowledge.
Pictures taken at parties, especially with cell-phones, do not always exhibit model behavior. Wait at least a day and then carefully review before posting. Posting pictures of others may be considered a violation of their privacy - always seek permission first (when they are in a clear state of mind to make that decision).
Family and roommates might not appreciate you posting information that could connect you with them.
What may seem to be harmless fun might not be viewed as such by college officials, parents and prospective employers.
Parents of prospective student-athletes can check pages of current student-athletes and form their decision/opinion of the team, UH athletics department and University on said content.
Reporters can scrutinize a student-athlete's information in the process of adding color to a story.
Posters can become victims of identity theft.
Your safety, security and privacy can be compromised if fans, rapists, stalkers, groupies and thieves obtain personal information such as where you live, who your friends are and your contact information (including class schedules).
Opposing teams can obtain information, which can be used to taunt you during competition or for their own motivation.
Those who you invite to be your "friends" should be carefully vetted since many people claim to be friends of student-athletes to get close to the team and obtain inside information that may be widely disseminated.
Remember that these "friends" to whom you give access, have their own friends who you may or may not want close to you.
Potential employers can access profiles before they make interviewing/hiring decisions.
Post personal contact information.
Set your privacy settings to help keep your identity information safe. Keep passwords private - even from friends. Post general information (i.e. Birthday November 1 - no year)
THE UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON
STUDENT-ATHLETE CODE OF CONDUCT
As a valued member of the University Of Houston Department Of Intercollegiate Athletics, I will use my talents to attain a quality education and earn a degree. Although time commitments are demanding during the athletic season, I will remain academically eligible, attend class, inform professors of expected absences due to official athletic events, maintain academic honesty, and make maximum use of the Athletic Alumni center and its programs. As a member of the University of Houston's athletics family, I will responsibly represent, with integrity, the University of Houston. As a University of Houston student-athlete, I will display good sportsmanship, know and follow NCAA and Conference USA guidelines, obey team rules and policies and always give 100 percent effort to positively represent the University of Houston on the field and in the classroom.
I have read the University Of Houston Student-Athlete Code Of Conduct and understand that I am responsible for abiding by the policies it contains. I understand that if I violate the standards of the Code of Conduct, I will be subject to consequences.