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Guidance to the NCAA membership about the Arrington Certification Process

The purpose of this memo is to provide membership with: (1) additional information about the availability of an online platform and process that has been established to facilitate membership certification under the Arrington Class Settlement Agreement; and (2) access to related educational and instructional materials. 

The content of this memo is being provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or a substitute for legal advice. We encourage you to review the content with applicable legal and other advisors and other institutional staff who might assist you in appropriately evaluating this information as it applies to your individual institutional decision about certification and related risks and practices.

REMINDER - Certifications must be submitted by May 18, 2020

In accordance with Section IX.B of the Settlement Agreement, certification is optional for NCAA member schools; but it provides certifying institutions with an opportunity to benefit from a release from certain legal claims that might otherwise be brought by members of the settlement class. To benefit from the release, member institutions must certify in writing, on or before 11:59 PM CDT (Chicago time) on May 18, 2020, that they have put in place a concussion management plan that meets the requirements of Section IX.A of the Settlement Agreement and must provide a copy of the certification to the Special Master, Class Counsel, and the Notice Administrator as described in the Settlement Agreement. Please note that, while all three divisions continue to explore the possibility of delaying certain other membership reporting obligations in response to the impact of COVID-19, the May 18 certification deadline is imposed by the terms of the Settlement Agreement which is a legal document. The Settlement Agreement does not provide for any opportunity for an extension or waiver of that deadline and the deadline should be considered permanent and immovable. 

Certification Process

A certification website and electronic certification process have been established and will be managed by third party settlement administrator Epiq Mass Tort (EPIQ). The certification website is immediately available to membership and step-by-step instructions for member institutions can be accessed here.

IMPORTANT - Prior to certification

Prior to accessing the certification website or implementing the instructions provided through the link above, it is important that each institution carefully reviews the content of Section IX and other related provisions of the Settlement Agreement, as well as the sample certification form. This review should be done with applicable legal advisors and other school staff who might assist in appropriately evaluating the certification requirements and decision, in each case as they apply to individual institutional risks and practices. A copy of the Settlement Agreement can be accessed here. A pdf copy of a sample certification form can be accessed here.

After Certification

Upon successful completion of the certification process, the individual that certifies on behalf of the institution will immediately receive an email confirming that the certification document has been completed. The email will include a pdf copy of the signed certification and the signer will be able to review an online copy as well. EPIQ will subsequently send a confirmation email to the following school personnel at the address that was on file with the NCAA on March 15:

  • Director of Athletics.
  • Athletics Health Care Administrator.
  • Director of Compliance and General Counsel (or, where no General Counsel, the President/Chancellor).

The executed certification form will also be automatically uploaded to the settlement website.  Finally, EPIQ will provide a copy of the executed certification form to each of the Special Master, Class Counsel, and the Notice Administrator, on behalf of the certifying institution, as required under the Settlement Agreement. Please note that it may take EPIQ several days after completion of the certification process to fully complete these activities.

Please note that, to support membership certification efforts, EPIQ intends to send subsequent reminders of the certification deadline to the limited group of Association stakeholders identified above at member institutions that have not yet submitted a certification between now and the certification deadline.

Frequently Asked Questions

In addition to the instructional information about the certification process, we have developed a Frequently Asked Questions document that contains answers to anticipated membership questions related to the certification process. A copy of the Certification FAQ can be accessed here.

Recommended Next Steps

As indicated above, we encourage you to review the content of Section IX and other related provisions of the Settlement Agreement, as well as the sample certification form with applicable legal advisors and other school staff who might assist in appropriately evaluating the certification requirements and decision, in each case as they apply to individual institutional risks and practices. Links to relevant certification materials are provided again for your convenience below.

We appreciate the efforts required to comply with the certification requirements, especially during these extremely challenging times. We remain committed to working with the membership to support and facilitate compliance and we greatly appreciate your continued partnership toward that effort. As always, please contact us at ssi@ncaa.org in the event you have any questions.