As schools seek to adjust to the new Department of Labor overtime exemption rules and increased salary standards, nearly every institution has classification and overtime-calculation questions about athletic coaches and athletic trainer positions. The NCAA (in conjunction with CUPA-HR) has now issued a helpful paper addressing exemption analysis and practical considerations applicable to these roles that can be found here. The analysis identifies several options for potentially classifying coaches and athletic trainers as exempt from overtime, which hinge fundamentally on defining each individual’s “primary duty.” That can be tricky, particularly for assistant coaches, given that (1) federal law defines primary duties as the “most important” (which may or may not be those that consume the most time) and (2) coaches are commonly assigned a wide variety of tasks and roles, depending on particular team needs, size of institution, or head coach preferences. Definitive decisions about classification will thus continue to require case-by-case analysis of each coach’s particular situation, but the NCAA’s paper provides several helpful concepts to help frame such decisions.
Highlights of the exemption analysis include:
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