NCAA Rules Summary for Alumni and Friends of the College

People often have questions about NCAA rules and what they permit alumni and friends of the College to do. The following is a summary of what is permitted and some examples of frequent problem areas.


Guidelines for Representatives of Athletics Interest  

NCAA Division III Bylaw 13.02.9 Representative of Athletics Interests or Booster.

A "representative of the institution's athletics interests" is an individual who is known (or who should have been known) by a member of the institution's executive or athletics administration to:

(a) Have participated in or to be a member of an agency or organization promoting the institution's intercollegiate athletics program;

(b) Have made financial contributions to the athletics department or to an athletics booster organization of that institution;

(c) Be assisting or to have been requested (by the athletics department staff) to assist in the recruitment of prospective student-athletes;

(d) Be assisting or to have assisted in providing benefits to enrolled student athletes or their families; or

(e) Have been involved otherwise in promoting the institution's athletics program. Once a person, agency, business or other organization identified as a "representative of athletics interests," that person/entity retains that identity for life.

Do's and Don'ts Regarding Current Student-Athletes.

Student-athletes are permitted to receive many benefits as a result of their participation in intercollegiate athletics, including benefits that are available to students or the public generally and not tied in any way to the student-athlete's status as an athlete, as well as benefits that are expressly permitted by NCAA rules.

As a representative of athletics interest YOU MAY...

  • Provide an occasional meal to a student-athlete or an entire team at any location in the locale of the institution. Meals must be restricted to infrequent and special occasions. Please consult with the director of athletics at the institution to determine what qualifies as "in the locale" and what constitutes "infrequent and special occasions."
  • Provide local transportation to a student-athlete for the occasional meal.
  • Pay for or provide a meal to a student-athlete or entire team outside of the locale of the institution as long as the meal is in conjunction with, or enroute to or from, an away-from-home contest.

But, please DO NOT...

  • Provide a current student-athlete, their parents or friends with any benefit or special arrangement without prior approval of the director of athletics.
  • Provide, co-sign, or arrange a loan for a student-athlete, the student-athlete's parents, relatives or friends – no matter the amount.
  • Pay for, arrange for payment of, or provide cost-free room, board, or transportation for a student-athlete or their family and friends.
  • Provide or arrange for the provision of gifts or free or reduced-cost services of any kind (e.g., restaurant meals, summer storage space, use of laundry facilities, retail discounts, etc.) for a current student-athlete or his or her family members.
  • Provide entertainment to student-athletes or their families.
  • Provide any award (e.g., financial aid award, most valuable player award, etc.) to student-athletes which are not approved by the department of athletics or not provided through the college/university.
  • Provide tickets to professional sporting events.
  • Make contact (e.g., in-person contact, telephonecalls, electronic communication, written correspondence) with the student-athlete of another NCAA or National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) four-year collegiate institution about transferring institutions.

Do's and Don'ts Regarding Recruitment and Prospective Student-Athletes.

Although recruitment of prospects is reserved for authorized university staff members, YOU MAY ...

  • Write, email, text, or telephone a prospect inan effort to recruit him or her to the university. Contact a prospect'shigh school coach, principal or counselor for the purpose of recruiting the prospect (e.g., meeting with the counselor, picking upa videotape of the prospect, etc.)
  • If permission from the college/university is given, make recruiting contacts and evaluations with prospective student-athletes and four-year college prospective student-athletes.
  • Forward information (e.g., via newspaper clippings, internet postings, telephone calls to coaching staff members, etc.) about a prospect to coaching staff members.
  • Attend high school, prep school, club events and two-year college athletics events at your own initiative (i.e., not at the direction of a university staff member) provided you do not have contact with the prospect or his/her parents, guardians, relatives, high school/Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) coach, guidance counselor, etc. unless permissible through NCAA recruiting legislation.
  • Display normal civility if you "run into" a prospect somewhere other than the prospect's educational institution, practice or competition site. Such contact must be truly incidental and not prearranged by anyone.
  • Continue established relationships with friends and neighbors. Contacts with these individuals should not be for recruiting purposes. Any benefits provided should be similar in nature to benefits provided prior to the individual entering ninth grade.
  • Prospects may attend luncheons or dinners in their immediate locale which are sponsored by the college/university and are open to all prospective students (not prospective student-athletes only). Contact with prospects at such events is permissible.

But, please DO NOT...

  • Directly or indirectly make any arrangement for a prospect to receive cash, financial aid of any kind, or loans of any kind (including signing or co-signing for a loan).
  • Provide, arrange for or pay for any type of transportation to any location for a prospect.
  • Provide a prospect with any cost-free or discounted gifts or services, including tickets to a home or away event, and payment of camp registration fees.
  • Provide or arrange employment for a prospector a prospect's relatives or friends.
  • Provide gifts of clothing or equipment, or any tangible item including merchandise.
  • Provide free or reduced-cost services, rentals or purchase of any type or free or reduced-cost housing.
  • Finance or arrange the use of recruiting aids to publicize the institutions interest in a particular prospect.
  • Contact a student from another institution to encourage him or her to transfer.
  • Provide anything to a prospect without prior approval from the director of athletics.

Relevant Definitions (Online NCAA Division III Manual).

Below is the NCAA Division III legislation relevant to the relationship between an institutional athletics department and a representative of athletics interest.

Bylaw 6.01.1 Institutional Control. The control and responsibility for the conduct of intercollegiate athletics shall be exercised by the institution itself and by the conference(s), if any, of which it is a member. Administrative control or faculty control, or a combination of the two, shall constitute institutional control.

Bylaw 13.01.3 Institutional Responsibility in Recruitment. A member of an institution's athletics staff or a representative of its athletics interests shall not recruit a prospective student-athlete except as permitted by this Association, the institution and the member conference, if any.

Bylaw 13.02.5 Student-Athlete. An individual becomes a student-athlete when he or she participates in an intercollegiate squad practice or contest that is under the jurisdiction of the athletics department.

Bylaw 13.02.7 Prospective Student-Athlete. A prospective student-athlete is a student who has started classes for the ninth grade. In addition, a studentwho has not started classes for the ninth grade becomes a prospective student-athlete if the institution provides such an individual (or the individual's relatives or friends) any financial assistance or other benefits that the institution does not provide to prospective students generally. An individual remains a prospective student-athlete until one of the following occurs (whichever occurs earlier):

(a) The individual officially registers and enrolls in a minimum full-time program of studies and attends classes in any term of a four-year collegiate institution's regular academic year (excluding summer); or

(b) The individual participates in a regular squad practice or competition at a four-year collegiate institution.

Bylaw 13.02.8 Recruiting. Recruiting is any solicitation of a prospective student-athlete or a prospective student-athlete's relatives [or guardian(s)] by an institutional staff member or by a representative of the institution's athletics interests for the purpose of securing the prospective student-athlete's enrollment and ultimate participation in the institution's intercollegiate athletics program.

Bylaw 16.02.3 Extra Benefit. An extra benefit is any special arrangement by an institutional employee or a representative of the institution's athletics interests to provide a student-athlete or the student-athlete's relative or friend a benefit not expressly authorized by NCAA legislation. Receipt of a benefit by student-athletes or their relatives or friends is not a violation of NCAA legislation if it is demonstrated that the same benefit is generally available to the institution's students or their relatives or friends or to a particular segment of the student body determined on a basis unrelated to athletics ability.