A Guide for Boosters, Alumni and Friends
This document has been developed to serve as a guideline for National Collegiate Athletic Association legislation governing boosters, alumni and friends of NCAA institutions. It summarizes rules and regulations involving situations encountered by our boosters, alumni and friends, and their requests for assistance in complying with NCAA legislation.
Your efforts to follow this legislation are greatly appreciated, because violations could affect the eligibility of involved prospects or student-athletes, result in NCAA penalties being imposed on this institution and lead to restrictions regarding your involvement with the athletics program.
All NCAA legislation cannot be covered in a document such as this. Therefore, any additional questions should be forwarded to the Compliance Office in the Department of Athletics. We appreciate your interest and ask you to contact the Department of Athletics should you have any questions.
Are you a representative of athletics interests?
You are a representative of athletics Interests (RAI), if you meet any of the following conditions:
- You are a member of any organization that promotes the athletics program.
- You have made a financial contribution to the Department of Athletics or its RAI organizations.
- You have ever assisted in the recruitment of prospects for the Department of Athletics.
- You have provided benefits (e.g. summer jobs or occasional meals) to enrolled student-athletes.
- You have ever, in any way, promoted the athletics program.
NOTE: Please remember that once you become a RAI, you retain that identity indefinitely.
Who is a prospective student-athlete?
A prospective student-athlete, commonly known as a "prospect," is any individual who has started classes for the ninth grade. In addition, student-athletes enrolled in preparatory schools or two-year colleges are considered prospects. Ultimately, a student remains a prospect until enrollment at a four-year collegiate institution.
Who can recruit?
Only coaches who successfully complete the annual NCAA Coaches Certification Exam are permitted to be involved in the recruiting process.
As a Representative of Athletics Interests:
- You may not make any recruiting contacts with prospects or their relatives. This includes telephone calls, letters, emails and facsimiles, along with any face-to-face contact either on or off campus.
- You may not assist coaches by picking up transcripts, films or any other information pertaining to a prospect's ability from the prospect's educational institution.
- You may forward information about prospects to the appropriate coaching staff member as long as you were not asked to do so by an institutional staff member.
- You may view a prospect's athletics contest on your own initiative, provided you do not contact the prospect or his/her relatives, coach, principal or counselor in an attempt to evaluate the academic or athletic abilities of the prospect. You are responsible for all incurred costs or fees at a contest.
- You may speak to a prospect on the telephone only if the prospect initiates the call. You are not permitted to have a recruiting conversation, but you may exhibit normal civility. Under such circumstances, you must refer all questions about the athletics program to the coaching staff.
NCAA rules regarding Representatives of Athletics Interest (RAI) involvement with prospects
- You may not provide benefits of any kind (e.g., clothing, special discounts, lodging, meals, transportation, tickets, loans of money) to prospects or their relatives.
- You may not make contact with a prospective student-athlete or his/her parents when the prospect is on campus for an official or unofficial recruiting visit.
- You may not contact a prospective student-athlete to congratulate him/her on signing a National Letter of Intent to attend this institution.
- You may not provide transportation or arrange for payment of transportation costs for a prospective student-athlete or his/her relatives or friends to visit campus.
- You may not earmark funds for specific prospects to attend our summer camps. Instead, you must donate the funds to the high school; the school and the students will decide which camps they will attend
- You may not employ or arrange for employment of a prospect before the completion of his/her senior year in high school or official withdrawal/graduation from junior college or prep school. At that point, you may employ a prospect as long as compensation is for work actually performed and at a rate commensurate with experience and the going rate.
- You may not provide ANYTHING to a prospect or the prospect's family or friends without prior approval from the Compliance Office.
NCAA rules regarding representative of athletics interest involvement with enrolled student-athletes
- You may not pay for or arrange for payment of room, board or any type of transportation at any time for currently enrolled student-athletes, their relatives or their friends.
- You may not provide student-athletes with any sort of extra benefit. This refers to any special arrangement to provide a student-athlete or his/her relatives or friends with a benefit unavailable to the general student population.
- You may not provide student-athletes with any special discounts (e.g. free or reduced meals, housing), payment arrangements (e.g. cosigning a loan), credits on a purchase (e.g. airline ticket, clothing) or services (e.g. dry cleaning, transportation, use of telephone).
- You may not provide awards or gifts to student-athletes for any reason. This also prohibits honorariums for speaking engagements. All awards to student-athletes must meet NCAA legislation and be approved by the Compliance Office.
- You may not entertain student-athletes or their family and friends. The only exception to this is that you may, on an occasional basis, provide a student-athlete or team (not family members or friends) with a meal. That meal can be catered, but it must be in your home, and you must notify the coach and receive prior approval from the Compliance office.
Note: These rules apply throughout the student-athlete's entire enrollment, including summer breaks.
NCAA rules regarding student-athlete employment
1. Prospects may be employed by RAI during the summer prior to enrollment. Please note that this employment may not begin until the prospect has graduated from high school or withdrawn/graduated from junior college or prep school.
2. Current student-athletes may seek employment during both the academic year and summer. This employment must meet the following regulations:
- The student-athlete's compensation must not include any remuneration for the value or utility the student-athlete may have for the employer because of the publicity, reputation, fame or personal following that he or she has obtained because of athletics ability.
- The student-athlete must be compensated only for work actually performed.
- The student athlete must be compensated at a rate commensurate with the going rate for similar services in that locale. Provided these regulations are met, there is no limit on the amount of money student athletes can earn. Although there is no longer a limit on student- athletes' earnings, the Compliance Office must keep records verifying all student-athlete employment. If you intend to hire a student-athlete at your place of business, please be sure to remind the student-athlete that he or she should consult the Compliance Office regarding the employment arrangements.
Rules regarding promotional activities for student-athletesAs it would affect their amateur status, student-athletes are not permitted to be involved in the advertisement, recommendation or promotion of commercial products or services. However, there are certain instances when student-athletes are permitted to be involved in charitable, educational, community engagement or nonprofit promotional activities. These events must be approved by the Compliance Office prior to the student-athletes' participation. If you are interested in involving student-athletes in this sort of activity, please contact us.
NCAA rules regarding the internetThe internet is considered similar to email, telephone calls or general correspondence. Therefore, it should not be used by RAI to contact prospects, their families or their coaches. Participating in "chat rooms" or "instant messaging" with prospects is also strictly prohibited.