DO'S & DON'TS FOR DONORS/CONTRIBUTORS
What Donors/Contributors (Boosters) Need to Know
If you want to do anything with or for student-athletes or prospects, contact the NC State Compliance staff for answers to your questions. If you have doubts, ASK BEFORE YOU ACT!
The NCAA calls an athletics booster a "Representative of the Institution's Athletics Interest."
Interaction with Prospects
Since coaches must be certified to recruit and are the only permissible off-campus recruiters, a representative of the institution's athletic interest:
- MAY NOT make in-person, on-campus or off-campus recruiting contacts with prospective student-athletes, their relatives or legal guardians. This prohibition includes written, text, email, IM, social media and telephone communications.
- MAY NOT contact prospective student-athlete's coaches, principals or counselors in an attempt to evaluate the prospective student-athletes.
- MAY NOT visit the prospective student-athlete's school to acquire film or transcripts for purposes of evaluating their athletic or academic eligibility.
- MAY NOT entertain, provide tickets or gifts and other benefits to a junior or senior in high school, prep school, or two-year college coaches, athletic director or for any other individual responsible for teaching or directing an activity in which a prospective student-athlete is involved.
- MAY NOT contribute to the payment of registration fees for prospective student-athletes to attend summer sports camps.
- MAY NOT mail anything, including newspapers, posters, programs, media guides, clippings, etc. to prospective student-athletes.
- MAY NOT contribute to the payment of transportation costs for prospective student-athletes or their relatives or friends to visit the campus. This includes commercial or private transportation by car, train, or plane.
- MAY NOT contact enrolled student-athletes at other four-year colleges to explore the possibilities of them transferring to the university and its athletic programs.
As a representative of the institution's athletic interest, you:
- MAY notify our coaches about prospects in your area that may be strong additions to our teams.
- MAY Attend high school, two year college athletic contests, or other events where prospects may compete, however, you may NOT contact the prospect or the prospect's relatives.
- MAY continue existing friendships with families of prospects, but you may NOT attempt to recruit the prospect.
- MAY employ prospective student-athletes provided the employment does not begin prior to the completion of the prospect's senior year of high school (more specific information about employing prospects & student-athletes below).
As a representative of the university's athletic interests, you may NOT:
Provide a student-athlete with extra benefits or services including, but not limited to:
- signing or co-signing a note with an outside agency to arrange a loan
- Make services available to a student-athlete (e.g., movie tickets, dinners, use of a car) from commercial agencies (e.g., movie theaters, restaurants, car dealers) without charge or at reduced rates
- Provide a student-athlete with a special discount, payment arrangement or credit on a purchase or service
- Provide a student-athlete with professional services without charge or at a reduced cost
- Allow a student-athlete to use a telephone or credit card without charge or at a reduced cost; or
- Serve as a "sponsor" or "family" for enrolled student-athletes.
For an enrolled student-athlete, a booster may:
Invite a student-athlete(s) or an entire team to your home or to an on-campus facility normally used by teams for a meal. The meal may be catered. Boosters are permitted to give a student-athlete(s) transportation on these occasions (local transportation only).
Invite an entire team for dinner when the team is visiting your area for an away athletics contest. This meal may take place at a booster's home or at a restaurant. (Boosters may not provide meals at restaurants for individual student-athletes or for a team when the team is not traveling away from campus for competition.)
A Booster Employing a Prospective Student-Athlete
A currently enrolled student-athlete may earn legitimate on- or off-campus employment income anytime during the calender year, provided the following criteria are met:
- The arrangement of employment by an institution or booster for a prospect shall be permitted, provided the employment does not begin prior to the completion of the prospect's senior year of high school.
- The institution or booster may employ a prospect enrolled as a full-time student in a two-year college provided the employment does not begin prior to the time period in which the prospect has officially withdrawn from or has completed the requirements for graduation at the two-year-college.
- An institution or its athletics representatives (boosters) shall not provide a prospect free transportation to and/or from a summer job unless it is the employer's established policy to transport all employees to and/or from the job site.
- The job is a legitimate employment situation.
- The prospective student-athlete is paid the going rate.
A Booster Employing a Currently-Enrolled Student-Athlete
A currently enrolled student-athlete may earn legitimate on- or off-campus employment income anytime during the calendar year, provided that the criteria listed below are met. Prior to the student-athlete beginning work, his or her employer must sign a Student-Athlete Employment Form. This form explains all applicable NCAA rules and regulations and serves as documentation that the employer understands and will abide by them. In addition, parents may employ student-athletes to give their children private lessons. However, student-athletes must abide by specific NCAA rules and regulations in order to do so.
NCAA Criteria for Specific Employment Situations
- Compensation may be paid to a student-athlete
- only for work actually performed
- at a rate commensurate with the going rate in that locality for similar services
Use of the Athletic Reputation of a Student-Athlete: Student-athletes may not receive compensation for the value or utility of their reputation, fame, or publicity resulting from their athletic ability by an employer.
Camp/Clinic Employment: A student-athlete may be employed by their institution, by another institution, or by a private organization to work a camp or a clinic as a counselor, unless otherwise restricted by NCAA legislation.
Employment on a Commissions Basis: An employer, other than the student-athlete's institution, may employ a student-athlete on a commission basis only if:
- the cost of any preliminary training programs are paid for by the student-athlete;
- the personnel of the company consists of both student-athletes and non-athletes;
- the employment of student-athletes by a company does not result in the company's use of athletics reputations of such individuals to promote the sale of the company's products; and
- the company is able to document that employees who are non-athletes receive earnings from sales commissions at a rate generally equivalent to the commission rate realized by the student-athletes employed by the company.
Athletic Equipment Sales: A student-athlete may not be employed to sell equipment related to his or her sport if his or her name, picture, or athletics reputation is used to advertise or promote the product, the job, or the employer. However, if the student-athlete's name, picture, or athletics reputation is not used for advertising or promotion purposes, the student-athlete may be employed in a sales position.
Employing Student-Athletes for Private Lessons: Parents may employ student-athletes to conduct private lessons. Student-athletes may engage in fee-for-lesson instruction, per NCAA Bylaw 188.8.131.52, provided they abide by employment rules and the following additional NCAA restrictions:
- Institutional facilities are not used;
- Playing lessons shall not be permitted (e.g., playing a game of golf or tennis);
- The institution obtains and keeps on file documentation of the recipient of the lesson(s) and the fee for the lesson(s) provided during any time of the year;
- The compensation is paid by the lesson recipient (or the recipient's family) and not another individual or entity;
- Instruction to each individual is comparable to the instruction that would be provided during a private lesson when the instruction involves more than one individual at a time;
- The student-athlete does not use his or her name, picture or appearance to promote or advertise the availability of fee-for-lesson sessions.