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:
- Provided a donation in order to obtain season tickets for any sport at the university.
- Participated in or has been a member of an organization promoting the university’s athletics programs.
- Made financial contributions to the athletic department or to a university booster organization.
- Arranged for or provided employment for enrolled student-athletes.
- Assisted or has been requested by university staff to assist in the recruitment of prospective student-athletes.
- Assisted in providing benefits to enrolled student athletes or their families.
- Been involved otherwise in promoting university athletics.
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.
As a booster, you may not:
- Contact a prospect in-person on-campus or off campus.
- Contact a prospect by telephone, email, Internet or letter.
- Provide gifts or free or reduced-cost services to a prospect or the prospect’s relatives or guardian.
- Employ relatives, guardians or friends of a prospect as an inducement for the prospect’s enrollment and athletics participation at a university.
- Become directly or indirectly involved in making arrangements for a prospect or the prospect’s relatives or guardian to receive money or financial aid of any kind.
- Provide transportation for a prospect or the prospect’s relatives or guardian.
- Provide free or reduced-cost tickets for a prospect or the prospect’s relatives or guardian to attend an athletic event.
- Provide any material benefit (e.g., meals, cash) to the coach of a prospect, including high school, two-year college, AAU and summer team coaches.
As a booster, you may not provide a student-athlete or a student-athlete’s friends, relatives or guardians:
- Tickets to college or professional sporting events.
- A special discount, payment arrangement or credit on a purchase or service.
- Cash or loan or signing or co-signing of a loan.
- Transportation, payment of expense or loan of any automobile.
- Benefits or gifts based upon the student-athlete’s athletic performance.
- Free or reduced rent or housing.
- An honorarium to a student-athlete for a speaking engagement.
As a booster, you may:
- Notify university coaching staff members about noteworthy prospects in the area.
- Attend high school or two-year college athletic contests or other events where prospects may compete, provided no contact occurs.
- Continue existing friendships.
- Make contributions to university programs and other gift-in-kind arrangements.
- Attend university athletic events and show student athletes you support their hard work and dedication to the university.
PLEASE NOTE: Student-athletes may only be compensated for work actually 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.
Thank you for taking the time to review this important information and of course, for your support of Buccaneer Athletics!
Compliance with NCAA rules is vital to maintaining the integrity of our university and programs of which we all can be proud. Violations of NCAA rules can jeopardize the eligibility of a current or prospective student-athlete.
As a member of the Buc Club, we ask your commitment to follow NCAA rules, to ask questions when you are not sure if something is permissible, and to report issues or violations if you recognize them.