Boosters play a role in providing student-athletes with a positive experience through their enthusiastic efforts. They can support teams and athletics departments through donations of time and financial resources which help student-athletes succeed on and off the playing field.
Boosters, referred to by the NCAA as “representatives of the institution’s athletic interests,” include anyone who has:
Once an individual is identified as a “representative of the institution’s athletics interests,” the person retains that identity forever.
Only institutional staff members are permitted to recruit prospective student-athletes. Generally, NCAA rules prohibit anyone else from contacting (calling, writing or in-person contact) prospects or the prospect’s relatives or guardian for recruiting purposes.
Students are still considered prospects even if they have signed a National Letter of Intent or any other financial aid agreement with a university.
Boosters are not precluded from continuing established friendships with families who have prospective student-athletes. However, boosters may not encourage a prospect’s participation in university athletics or provide benefits to prospects that were not previously provided.
If a violation occurs, it may jeopardize a student-athlete’s eligibility for intercollegiate competition, jeopardize a school’s membership status with the NCAA or cause a booster to lose access to all booster benefits.
If you are going to employ a student-athlete for ANY time period or for ANY job, you must contact the Compliance Office for more detailed rules. Generally, an athletic booster can employ student-athletes, provided the student-athletes are paid the going rate for the work actually performed. HOWEVER, an athletic booster IS NOT PERMITTED to employ a PROSPECTIVE STUDENT-ATHLETE before the completion of the prospect’s senior year in high school. Accurate records must be maintained regarding employment. Therefore, the athletic department asks for your full cooperation.
Athletic Boosters ARE NOT PERMITTED to provide a prospective student-athlete, a student athlete or friend/relative of a prospective student-athlete or a student-athlete any benefit or special arrangement that is not generally available to all of the University’s students or their relatives/friends.
Dear Tiger Fan,
As we embark on another year for Tiger Athletics, I want to say THANK YOU for your support and belief in our program.
With our success comes a responsibility and commitment to conduct our affairs within the bounds of all NCAA regulations. You, as a “representative of our athletic interest,” are equally responsible for that commitment. This brief review covers commonly asked questions related to what you as a fan may or may not do. We ask that you review this brochure completely. Should you have questions please contact the Compliance Office at 678-4117. Again, thank you for your continued support. GO TIGERS!
Director of Athletics
Once an individual is identified as an athletic booster, s/he remains so for a lifetime. Athletic boosters are governed by the NCAA and University rules and regulations. The University is responsible for the actions of all athletic boosters. The University can be placed on NCAA probation for the activities of its athletic booster whether or not they are known to or being monitored by the University’s administration.
In addition an athletic booster who has violated NCAA rules can be disassociated from the University’s athletic program. Remember, violating a rule simply because you did not know about the rule is still a VIOLATION and the University WILL BE reprimanded.
A prospective student-athlete (prospect) is a student who has started classes for the ninth grade.
A student-athlete is a student who has enrolled and attended classes at the University or has participated in practice, whichever occurs first.
Athletic boosters ARE NOT permitted to participate in the recruitment of prospective student-athletes. They are not permitted to contact (in person, by phone or through the mail) student-athletes from another four-year institution, student-athletes from a junior-college, or high school students regarding attendance at the University. Athletic Boosters are also PROHIBITED from contacting or entertaining prospective student-athletes and/or their relatives and friends during all visits, whether official or unofficial.
Athletic Boosters ARE NOT permitted to reimburse the coach of a prospect for expenses incurred in transporting a prospect to visit the campus. They are also PROHIBITED from entertaining high school, preparatory or junior college coaches at any location.
What are examples of impermissible recruiting activities?
As a booster, you may not:
What are examples of permissible activities?
Even though there are many rules prohibiting your involvement with prospects and the recruiting process, as a booster, you may:
What are examples of impermissible extra benefits for enrolled student-athletes?
As a booster, you may not provide a student-athlete or a student-athlete’s friends, relatives or guardians:
What are examples of permissible benefits for enrolled student-athletes?
With the various NCAA rules and regulations regarding benefits to student-athletes, it may seem difficult to be a part of a university’s athletic programs. However, you can show your support as a booster in other ways. Boosters may:
Q. Can I pay or provide transportation costs incurred by relatives or friends of a student-athlete to visit the campus or elsewhere?
Q. Can I provide a student-athlete or a prospective student-athlete with tickets to athletic events or concerts?
A. NO In addition, you may not provide free tickets to friends/relatives of student-athletes or prospective student-athletes. This includes University events as well as professional even
Q. Can I provide a student-athlete with a discount to a commercial agency such as a movie theater, a hotel, a restaurant, a car dealership, etc?
A. NO unless the same discount is offered to all University students.
Q. Can I pay, in whole or part, education expenses for enrolled students-athletes or promise to do so for prospective student-athletes?
Q. Can I provide any payment of expenses or the loan of an automobile for a student-athlete to return home or any other location for any personal reason?
Q. Can I provide enrolled student-athletes with professional services (for which a fee would normally be charged) for personal reasons?
Q. Can I give money to entertain student-athletes and friends?
Q. Can I reward a student-athlete for his/her athletic performance?
A. NO. All awards must conform with NCAA awards legislation and must be approved by the University.
Q. Can I use the name or picture or an enrolled student-athlete to directly advertise, recommend or promote the sales or use of a commercial product or service of any kind?
Q. Can I or a group of Booster Club Members attend a recruit’s High School contest?
A. YES, as long as it is NOT at the direction of the Head Coach and NO CONTACT is made.
What is institutional control?
Institutional control of athletics is a fundamental requirement of NCAA legislation. Specifically, the NCAA constitution states that the university must:
Are there any rules for the employment of enrolled student-athletes by boosters?
Student-athletes may only be compensated for work performed and at a rate commensurate with the going rate. Compensation may not include remuneration for the value that the student-athlete may have for the employer due to the student-athlete’s athletics status. Transportation may not be provided to student athletes unless it is a benefit provided to all employees.
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