A Guide to NCAA Rules
For Alumni, Boosters and
Friends of Florida Southern College
Florida Southern College needs your support in maintaining the integrity of the College while promoting the welfare of the student-athletes. As an active member of the NCAA and Sunshine State Conference, the college is accountable (responsible) for insuring that you comply with all governing regulations.
Florida Southern College has the ultimate responsibility for the conduct of its athletic program. Compliance with NCAA rules, therefore, is of the highest priority for our Athletics Department. Under NCAA By-laws, "institutional control" includes responsibility for the activities of all individuals and organizations that promote our athletic interests. In order to maintain our excellence both on and off the playing fields, therefore, continuous diligence to the rules is required by all our appropriate individuals and groups, to include coaches, student-athletes, support staff, faculty, the general student population, alumni, boosters, friends and fans.
We have developed and distributed this brochure as a quick reference guide to provide a basic understanding of the complex NCAA rules in which you could become involved. As you can appreciate, violation of these rules, regardless of intentions, could jeopardize the eligibility of a prospective student-athlete, or an enrolled student-athlete, and could result in other sanctions to our athletics program. We are grateful for your interest and support, but we urge you in your enthusiasm to be constantly mindful of and be in strict compliance with the NCAA regulations summarized in this publication.
Drew Howard, Director of Athletics
Florida Southern College
A "representative of the institution's athletics interests", or "booster", is an individual who is known (or who should have been known) by a member of the institution's executive or athletics administration to:
- Have participated in or to be a member of an agency or organization, including corporate entities (e.g. apparel and equipment companies), promoting the institution's intercollegiate athletics program;
- Have made financial contributions to the Athletics Department or to an athletics booster organization of that institution;
- Be assisting or to have been requested (by the Athletics Department staff) to assist in the recruitment of prospects;
- Be assisting or to have assisted in providing benefits, to include arranging employment, for enrolled student-athletes or their families, or;
- Have been involved otherwise in promoting the institution's athletics program.
Note: Once an individual is identified as such a representative, that person retains that identity indefinitely.
NCAA rules require institutions to notify boosters that any benefit or privileges provided to the booster relating to the institution's athletics program will be withheld if the booster is found to be in violation of any NCAA rules or regulation. The NCAA Committee on Infractions has processed cases in which penalties have included both the disassociation of boosters with the institutions and the loss of season ticket privileges.
A prospective student athlete ("prospect") is a student who has started classes for the ninth grade.
- An individual remains a prospective student-athlete even after signing a National Letter of Intent (NLI) to attend an institution and until reporting for regular squad practice, attends the first day of class in any regular term.
Boosters Are Permitted To:
- View a prospect's athletics contest on his or her own initiative, subject to the understanding that the athletics representative may not contact the prospect, the prospect's relatives or legal guardian(s) on such occasions.
- Make written communications after the beginning of the prospect's junior year.
- Have on-campus contact with prospective student-athletes.
- Notify coaches about prospects who may be contributors to the athletics program.
- Have unavoidable incidental contact provided the contact is not prearranged by the representative or an athletics department staff member; does not take place on the grounds of the prospect's educational institution or at the sites of organized competition or practice; is not made for the purpose of recruitment; and involves only normal civility.
- Continue existing friendships with families of prospects without attempting to recruit the prospect.
Boosters Are Not Permitted To:
- Make telephone calls to prospective student-athletes.
- Contact a prospect's coach, principal or counselor in an attempt to evaluate the prospect.
- Visit a prospect's educational institution to pick up film/videotape or transcripts pertaining to the evaluation of the prospect's academic eligibility or athletics ability.
- Make in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts with a prospect or the prospect's relatives or legal guardian(s). These contacts shall be made only by authorized Athletics Department staff members.
An extra benefit is any special arrangement by an institutional employee or a representative of the institutions athletics interest to provide a student-athlete, or their relatives, legal guardian(s) or friends a benefit not expressly authorized by NCAA legislation.
Representatives of athletics interest cannot provide anything or make special arrangements for student-athletes and prospective student-athletes that are not available to the general student population.
- Cash or loans in any amount, or signing or co-signing for a loan.
- Providing an automobile or the use of an automobile.
- Providing gifts of any kind, including birthday cards, holiday gifts or awards for athletic performance.
- Providing special discounts or credit on a purchase of goods or a service (e.g. airline ticket, clothing, car repair, movie, etc.)
- Providing free or reduced rent/housing.
- Purchasing complimentary admissions from a student-athlete.
- Providing an honorarium to a student-athlete for a speaking engagement.
- Paying or providing the actual and necessary expenses (room, board and transportation costs) incurred by friends or relatives to visit an enrolled student-athlete.
- A student-athlete or the entire team in a sport may receive an occasional family home meal from a representative of athletics interests provided the meal is in the individual's home, and may be catered. Reasonable local transportation for the student-athletes to attend such meals is allowed.
All charitable, educational and non-profit promotional activities involving student-athletes must have prior written approval from the Director of Athletics.
Subsequent to becoming a student-athlete, an individual shall not be eligible for participation in intercollegiate athletics if the individual:
- Accepts any remuneration for or permits the use of his or her name, picture or appearance to advertise, recommend or promote directly the sale or use of a commercial product or service of any kind or
- Receives remuneration for endorsing a commercial product or service through the individual's use of such product or service.
However, a member institution or recognized entity thereof, a member conference or a non institutional charitable, educational or nonprofit agency may use a student-athlete's name, picture or appearance to support activities considered incidental to the student-athlete's participation in intercollegiate athletics if, among other criteria:
All money derived from the activity goes directly to the member institution, member conference or the charitable, educational or nonprofit agency and not the student-athlete.
Under certain circumstances it is permissible for a student-athlete's name or picture, or the group picture of a team, to appear in an advertisement of a particular business, commercial product or service (check with the Compliance Office for details).
NOTE: Autographed items such as pictures, posters, basketballs signed by a coach or eligible student-athlete(s) have guidelines associated with their distribution.
It is permissible to arrange employment for prospective student-athletes during the summer prior to their enrollment as freshmen and anytime for current student-athletes with prior approval from the Compliance Office.
For the student-athlete:
- Compensation can only be for work actually performed.
- The compensation is at a rate commensurate with the going rate of that locality for similar services.
- The employer shall not use the athletics reputation of a student-athlete employee to promote the sale of the employer's products or services.
- Neither the institution nor its representatives shall provide free transportation to and from the job unless it is the employer's policy to transport all employees to and from the job site.
Identify Outstanding Student-Athletes: If you know of outstanding prospective student-athletes in your area send information, such as newspaper clippings, to the coach of that sport. Remember, you cannot contact prospects off campus or contact high school coaches, principals or guidance counselors in an attempt to evaluate prospects. There is no rule against attending prospects' contests on your own initiative.
Join A Booster Club: These clubs provide support for the college and specific teams by attending home and away events and on occasion, helping raise funds for special projects.
Provide Employment and Internships: If you know of positions in your business or community which might be filled by a student-athlete, contact the Florida Southern Compliance Office for names of the student-athletes who might be qualified. Additionally, the Compliance Office must be sure that all NCAA regulations are met regarding such employment.
Report Potential Violations to the Compliance Office: If you know of or suspect an NCAA violation involving Florida Southern College, please report it to the Compliance Office as soon as possible. We will conduct an investigation and determine if any action is required.
Q. Can an athletics representative be involved in any way when a prospect is on an official or unofficial visit?
A. Yes. Athletics representatives can participate with the prospect only on the school's campus.
Q. Is it permissible for a booster to reimburse the coach of a prospect for expenses incurred in transporting a prospect to visit the campus?
A. No. In fact the college is not permitted to reimburse the prospect's coach for any expenses to include travel, meals and lodging.
Q. Is it permissible for a booster to pay registration fees associated with sport camps?
A. No. All prospects and/or their schools must pay camp fees.
Q. Is the contact rule applicable to established family, friends, and neighbors?
A. No. However, it must be understood that such contacts may not be made for recruiting purposes and are not to be initiated by a member of the institutions coaching staff.
Q. May a booster attend a public event (e.g., high school award banquet or dinner) at which prospects are in attendance?
A. Yes. Any contact with a prospect may not be prearranged by an athletics department staff member, and no attempt may be made to recruit the prospect.
Q. May a recruit call a booster?
A. Yes . A booster may have a telephone conversation with a prospect provided the prospect initiates the call and the call was not prearranged by an institutional staff member. The booster is not permitted to have a recruiting conversation with the prospect but may exhibit normal civility.
Q. Is Florida Southern responsible for the acts of boosters and booster support groups?
A. Yes. Boosters are governed by the same NCAA and institutional rules and regulations as those placed upon all institutional athletics staff members.
Q. May a student-athlete make a public appearance at a business establishment for any purpose, such as signing autographs, etc.?
A. No. Such appearances can be construed as a direct or indirect endorsement of the commercial establishment, thus jeopardizing the eligibility of the student-athlete. It should be noted that student-athletes may make appearances at schools, hospitals, or other non-profit or charitable organizations provided they do not receive compensation (other than expenses) and such activities are authorized by the Athletics Department.
Q. Is it permissible for a booster to provide gifts or awards to a student-athlete for his or her athletics performance?
A. No. Such recognition would be considered extra benefits not available to the general student-population.
Q. How can a booster communicate with a prospective student-athlete other than during an on-campus visit?
A. By letters, facsimiles and other electronically transmitted correspondence.
Q. Can a booster contact an enrolled student-athlete at another institution for the purpose of encouraging a transfer?
The Florida Southern Compliance Office was created to ensure that the Athletics Department, its coaching staff and the student-athletes are committed to the highest standards and principles of ethical behavior and complete adherence to the letter and spirit of NCAA rules.
This Guide to NCAA Rules includes only a sampling of all the regulations that exist.
A full disclosure of NCAA rules and regulations are to be found in the annual NCAA Manual. There are frequent rule changes annually so this Guide could be outdated quickly and should not be relied upon exclusively. If you have specific situations or questions that require additional interpretations, or seek further information regarding these or other rules, contact the Compliance Coordinator at the following address:
Department of Athletics
Florida Southern College
111 Lake Hollingsworth Drive
Lakeland, Florida 33801
(863) 680-4244 - Office
(863) 680-4122 - FAX