Quick Guide for Boosters
Are You a Booster?
Who are Considered Prospective Student-Athletes?
Offers and Inducements
What are Extra Benefits?
What Boosters Can Do
Rules to Live By
Release Approval for Athletic Items
Appalachian State University’s reputation is one of upholding the highest degree of athletic and academic integrity. This tradition can only continue if the alumni, boosters and friends of ASU are well informed about the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rules.
As a supporter, booster or alumnus of ASU, you should be aware that there are certain NCAA rules and regulations that ASU must abide by. These regulations affect student-athletes, coaches, administrators and you. You are expected to comply with these rules and regulations and share this responsibility equally with the coaches, staff members and student-athletes.
NCAA bylaw 6.4.1 requires ASU to be responsible for the acts of independent agencies or organizations when they are promoting ASU intercollegiate athletics programs.
ASU must be aware of and have control over any booster groups of Mountaineer teams.
The university is proud to have your continued interest and loyal support in our athletics program. We appreciate your assistance in assuring that the eligibility of our student-athletes is not jeopardized by inadvertent rules interpretations.
Are You a Booster?
A "representative of the institution's athletics interests," (athletics representative) or booster, is an individual who is known (or who should have been known) by the institution's staff to:
• Have participated in or is a member of an agency or organization promoting the institution's intercollegiate athletics program (e.g., a booster club, athletic foundation, university club);
• Have made financial contributions to the athletics department or to an athletics booster organization of ASU;
• 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 enrolled student-athletes or their families (e.g., helping to arrange summer and/or vacation employment);
• Been employed by ASU either directly or indirectly;
• Have been involved otherwise in promoting ASU athletics programs.
ONCE YOU HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED AS A REPRESENTATIVE OF ATHLETICS INTERESTS, YOU WILL ALWAYS RETAIN THAT IDENTITY.
Once a booster, ALWAYS a booster!
Who are Considered Prospective Student-Athletes?
A prospective student-athlete (“prospect”) is any student who has started classes for the ninth grade. Also, a student who has started classes for the ninth grade becomes a prospect if the institution provides such an individual (or his/her relatives or friends) any financial assistance or other benefits that an institution does not provide to prospective students generally. It is possible for a younger student to be a prospect, so it is prudent to treat ALL athletes as prospects.
Junior College Prospects
The same recruiting rules that apply to high school prospects also apply to junior college prospects.
Four-Year College Prospects
An athletics staff member may not have contact with a student of another four-year college, directly or indirectly, without first obtaining written permission from the first institution’s athletics director, regardless of who makes the initial contact. The first institution is not required to grant, and may in fact deny, such permission. The recruiting rules that apply to high school prospects also apply to four-year college prospects, if permission is granted to have contact.
Any face-to-face encounter between a prospect or their parents or guardian, and a university staff member or athletics representative during which any dialogue occurs.
An enrolled student-athlete is an individual whose enrollment was solicited by a member of the athletics staff with a view toward the student’s ultimate participation in the intercollegiate athletics program. Any other student becomes a student-athlete only when the student reports for an intercollegiate squad that is under the jurisdiction of the athletics department.
Recruiting is any solicitation of a prospect (or his/her family or legal guardian) by a member of an institution’s staff (ie. coaches) for the purpose of securing the prospects enrollment (and ultimate participation) in the institution’s intercollegiate athletics program. Only coaches and athletic department staff members may be involved in the recruiting process and only coaches who have passed the NCAA recruiting certification exam may recruit prospects off the ASU campus. Alumni, friends and other athletics representatives may not contact a prospect (or his/her family or guardian) via written correspondence, telephone, or in-person (either on or off campus) for the purpose of recruiting them to play for ASU.
A prospective student-athlete becomes a recruited prospective student-athlete when an institution’s staff member(s) do any of the following:
a. Provide the prospect with an official (expense paid) visit to the institution;
b. Arrange an in-person, off-campus encounter with the prospect (or his/her parents or legal guardian); or
c. Initiate or arrange a telephone contact with the prospect (or family member or guardian). On more than one occasion.
Additional Regulations Related to Recruiting for Athletics Representatives
Only coaches and athletics department staff members can be involved in the recruiting process and only they can make contact (face-to-face conversations regarding playing at ASU) with potential athletes and their families.
1. An athletics representative may only speak to a prospect via telephone if the prospect initiates the phone call and the call is not for recruiting purposes. This type of call can not be pre-arranged by an institutional staff member. All questions about the ASU athletics program must be referred to the institution's athletics department and coaches.
2. An athletics representative may not have in-person on or off-campus recruiting contact with or write to a prospect, or their parents or legal guardian.
3. An athletics representative may view a prospect's athletics contest on their own initiative, with the understanding that no contact can be made with the prospect or their family on such an occasion.
4. An athletics representative may not contact a prospect's coach, principal or counselor in an attempt to evaluate a prospect academically or athletically.
5. An athletics representative may not visit a prospect's educational institution to pick up film/videotape or transcripts pertaining to the evaluation of the prospect's academic or athletics eligibility.
6. An unavoidable incidental contact made with a prospect by an athletics representative is permitted, provided:
a. the contact is not prearranged by the athletics representative or athletics department staff member;
b. the contact does not take place on the grounds of the prospect's educational institution or at practice or competition sites involving the prospect or his/her team;
c. the contact is not made for the purpose of recruitment of the prospect, and
d. involves only normal civility.
Are You a Booster?
Institutional staff members or representatives of athletics interests may not directly or indirectly provide, arrange for the provision of, or offer any financial aid or other benefits to a prospect (or the prospect's relatives, guardian or friends) other than expressly permitted by NCAA regulations. This shall apply regardless of whether similar financial aid benefits or arrangements are available to prospective students in general.
Specifically prohibited items include, but are not limited to:
a. arranging employment for a prospect's relatives;
b. gifts of clothing, equipment or discounted or free services. (ie. airline tickets, game tickets, laundry, dry cleaning, car repairs, haircuts, meals in restaurants);
c. provide any entertainment for a prospect or their family members on or off campus, except by the coaching staff during an official visit;
d. co-signing of a loan;
e. providing a loan to a prospect's relatives or friends;
f. cash or like items;
g. any tangible items, including merchandise;
h. free or reduced-cost housing;
i. use of an institution's athletics equipment (e.g., for a high school all-star game);
j. free or reduced-cost services, rentals or purchases of any type;
k. providing any form of transportation for a high school, prep school or junior college prospective student-athlete to visit the campus or attend an ASU home or away athletics contest;
l. sponsorship of or arrangement for an awards banquet for high-school, preparatory school or two-year college athletes by an institution, its athletics representatives, or its alumni groups or booster groups.
What are Extra Benefits?
An extra benefit is any special arrangement by an institutional employee or athletics representative to provide a student-athlete (or his/her relatives, guardian or friends) a benefit not expressly authorized by NCAA legislation.
Receipt of a benefit by a student-athlete (or his/her relatives, guardian or friends) is not considered a violation of NCAA legislation if it is demonstrated that the same benefit is generally available to the institution's students (or their relatives, guardian or friends) not on a basis unrelated to athletics ability.
Extra Benefits include, but are not limited to:
a. cash or loans in any amount
b. co-signing or arranging a loan
c. gifts, discounts or free services (e.g., airline tickets, cash, restaurant meals)
d. use of an automobile
e. rent free or reduced cost housing or a benefit connected with on or off-campus housing (televison set, stereo equipment)
f. money for, or a guarantee of, bail or bond
g. employment of a student-athlete at a higher rate than the wages paid for similar work
h. payment to a student-athlete for work not performed
i. transportation (aside from transportation related to an occasional home meal)
j. tickets to an athletics, institutional or community event
k. financial aid for a post-graduate education
l. promise of employment after college graduation
m. invitations to your home or summer home for purposes other than an occasional meal
n. use of the name or picture of a student-athlete to advertise, recommend or promote sales, or use of a product or service of any kind. This specifically will jeopardize eligibility. Even the sale of a picture of a student-athlete can jeopardize eligibility.
What Boosters Can Do
YOU MAY provide tickets for a professional sports contest to an institution for entertainment of student-athletes involved in an away-from-home athletics contest only.
YOU MAY provide an occasional meal in your home to a student-athlete or an entire team. This meal should be home-cooked or can be catered, but may not be provided in a restaurant or any other location than your home.
YOU MAY provide transportation to your home for a student-athlete who will be receiving an occasional meal there.
YOU MAY contribute funds to finance a scholarship or grant-in-aid for a particular sport, but the decision as to how such funds are to be allocated in the sport shall rest exclusively with ASU.
YOU MAY provide a summer job to a student-athlete or a prospective student-athlete provided they have signed a National Letter of Intent or financial aid agreement with ASU. The student-athlete should be paid only for work actually performed and at the normal rate of pay for that position. And remember to get authorization from the compliance office at ASU before doing so.
YOU MAY make a donation to a high school athletics program in your locale without it being a violation provided:
1. Your decision to donate was made on your own accord,
2. Your donation is distributed through the normal channels established by the high school, and your donation is not earmarked for a specific prospect,
3. Your donation was not an item that ASU would not have been able to provide the high school or its athletics program. (You can not serve as a second-party donor.)
YOU MAY continue pre-existing relationships with friends who have prospective or enrolled student-athletes (i.e. backyard barbeques, picnics, etc.). Be aware that you should not begin to encourage a prospect's participation nor provide benefits to a student-athlete if you were not providing those same items before he/she became prospect or enrolled student-athlete.
YOU MAY provide housing, meals, transportation to ASU coaches recruiting in your area.
There are many penalties the NCAA may impose upon a student-athlete (prospective or enrolled), an institution, a coach or a representative of athletics interest. Some of those penalties include:
a. Ceasing recruitment of a prospective student-athlete;
b. Loss of eligibility of an enrolled student-athlete;
c. Having to sit out of competition for a limited period of time (enrolled student-athletes);
d. Forfeiture of competitions;
e. Prohibiting a coach from recruiting off-campus for a period of time;
f. Institutional fines;
g. Suspension of a coach for one or more competitions;
h. Reduction in the number of scholarships an institution may award in a sport(s);
i. Reduction in the number of expense-paid recruiting visits that an institution may provide;
j. Prohibiting a team from participating in postseason competition;
k. Institutional probation, or
l. Disassociation of relations with a representative of athletics interests. (This would result in a loss of any benefits or privileges related to the athletics department.
Are You a Booster?
1. Don’t do anything for a prospective student-athlete or an enrolled student-athlete without specific permission from the institution’s athletic department. Check with the Compliance Office to see if it is permissible.
2. Only coaches and athletic department staff members may be involved in the recruiting process. Alumni, friends and other athletics representatives who are not employed by the institution may not contact a prospect (or their family or legal guardian) via written correspondence, telephone, or in-person (either) on or off campus) for the purpose of soliciting their participation in the athletics program.
3. A prospective student-athletes remain prospective student-athletes until they enroll (e.g., begins classes) full-time at an institution, or until they begin official team practice immediately prior to the start of classes. Even if a prospect has signed a Letter of Intent or financial aid agreement to attend an institution, they remain a prospect until one of the above occurs. Once the above occurs, the prospect becomes an enrolled student-athlete.
4. An enrolled student-athletes risk losing their athletics eligibility if they accept any benefit based on their status as an athlete or because of their skill, or accept a benefit not generally afforded to other students generally.
5. NCAA rules applicable to enrolled student-athletes are not only applicable during the academic year, but they are also applicable during the summer months. Enrolled student-athletes are bound by NCAA rules until the end of the academic year in which their athletics eligibility is completed.
Still have questions?
The above information does not explain every rule and regulation of the NCAA. Only those that representatives of athletics interest should be aware of.
If you are still wondering if you should or shouldn’t do something, or whether a certain rule applies to you, don’t put your favorite institution, a prospect or an enrolled student-athlete at risk of a penalty or loss of eligibility.
Ask before you act!
The Compliance Office is available to answer any questions you may have by contacting:
Barbara A. Green, Director of Compliance
Phone: (828) 262-7843
The Compliance Office is located in:
Owens Field House
135 Jack Branch Drive
Boone, NC 28608
To inform Athletics about any outstanding prospective student-athletes in your community, please forward information about the student-athlete to the appropriate head coach. To find a coach's phone number or email address, click here for ASU athletics' online staff directory.
Prospective student-athletes may attend luncheons or dinners in their immediate locale that are sponsored by bona fide alumni organizations of ASU, provided:
1. They are open to all other prospective students;
2. They are not for the purpose of recruiting only prospective student-athletes to attend the institution;
3. It is not a Yosef Club alumni tour event or alumni event arranged by the athletic department or athletic development.
Current student-athletes may attend or participate in alumni events provided their attendance is related to their athletic participation. Student-athletes may occasionally be asked to speak at alumni events. Permission prior to the event should be requested from the compliance office. Student-athletes are not allowed to miss class to attend these functions. Student-athletes can not be provided money or gifts in exchange for speaking at a function.
There are certain times during the year that a coach can not have off-campus contact with prospects. Is coaches are requested to speak at an alumni gathering or other function, please notify them if individuals of prospect age will be in attendance.
In order for student-athletes to represent an NCAA member institution in intercollegiate athletics competition, they must be considered amateur. A student-athlete may lose all remaining eligibility if they enter into a verbal or written agreement with an agent or “advisor” for future representation. A student-athlete or their family and friends are not permitted to receive any type of benefit (ie. meals, transportation, lodging or loans) from a sports agent, “advisor” or runner. As a supporter of ASU, should you ever hear of such activity occurring, please contact the Compliance Office immediately!
The NCAA and ASU prohibit student-athletes, coaches and Office of Athletics staff members from knowingly providing information to individuals involved in organized gambling activities related to intercollegiate or professional athletics competition.
Student-athletes, coaches and Office of Athletics staff members may not place or accept bets or gamble on any intercollegiate or professional athletics competition.