NCAA Compliance

The University of Memphis A Guide to NCAA Rules for Alumni, Boosters, and Friends

Role of Boosters

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.

Employment

If you are going to employ a student-athlete for ANY time period or for ANY job, you must contact the Compliance Office for more detailed rules. Generally, an athletic booster can employ student-athletes, provided the student-athletes are paid the going rate for the work actually performed. HOWEVER, an athletic booster IS NOT PERMITTED to employ a PROSPECTIVE STUDENT-ATHLETE before the completion of the prospect’s senior year in high school. Accurate records must be maintained regarding employment. Therefore, the athletic department asks for your full cooperation.

Impermissible Benefits

Athletic Boosters ARE NOT PERMITTED to provide a prospective student-athlete, a student athlete or friend/relative of a prospective student-athlete or a student-athlete any benefit or special arrangement that is not generally available to all of the University’s students or their relatives/friends.

Impermissible Benefits include, but are not limited to:
  • A special discount, payment arrangement or credit on a purchase or services.
  • A loan of money in any amount.
  • The use of an automobile for any purpose.
  • The purchase of meals or services at commercial establishments.
  • Transportation to or from a job or between student-athlete’s hometown and Memphis.
  • Cosigning of a loan.
  • Selling or providing tickets to an athletic, institutional or city event.
  • Providing gifts of any kind (e.g. Birthday or Christmas).
  • Paying for long distance phone calls or providing the use of a calling card.
  • Providing rent-free or reduced-rent housing.

A Message from the Athletics Director

Dear Tiger Fan,

As we embark on another year for Tiger Athletics, I want to say THANK YOU for your support and belief in our program.

With our success comes a responsibility and commitment to conduct our affairs within the bounds of all NCAA regulations. You, as a “representative of our athletic interest,” are equally responsible for that commitment. This brief review covers commonly asked questions related to what you as a fan may or may not do. We ask that you review this brochure completely. Should you have questions please contact the Compliance Office at 678-4117. Again, thank you for your continued support. GO TIGERS!

Sincerely,
Laird Veatch
Director of Athletics


Definition of an Athletic Booster

An Athletic Booster is an individual who is known (or who should have been known) by a member of the University of Memphis’s executive or athletic administration to:
  • Have participated in or to be a member of an organization or agency promoting the institution’s intercollegiate athletics program
  • Have made financial contributions to the athletics department or to an athletics booster organization of that institution (e.g. Tiger Clubs, Highland Hundred, Fast Break Club);
  • Be assisting or to have assisted in providing benefits to enrolled student-athletes an/or their families; or
  • Have been involved otherwise in promoting the institution’s athletics program.

Once an individual is identified as an athletic booster, s/he remains so for a lifetime. Athletic boosters are governed by the NCAA and University rules and regulations. The University is responsible for the actions of all athletic boosters. The University can be placed on NCAA probation for the activities of its athletic booster whether or not they are known to or being monitored by the University’s administration.

In addition an athletic booster who has violated NCAA rules can be disassociated from the University’s athletic program. Remember, violating a rule simply because you did not know about the rule is still a VIOLATION and the University WILL BE reprimanded.


Definition of Prospective Student-Athlete

A prospective student-athlete (prospect) is a student who has started classes for the ninth grade.

Definition of Student-Athlete

A student-athlete is a student who has enrolled and attended classes at the University or has participated in practice, whichever occurs first.

Role In Recruitment

Athletic boosters ARE NOT permitted to participate in the recruitment of prospective student-athletes. They are not permitted to contact (in person, by phone or through the mail) student-athletes from another four-year institution, student-athletes from a junior-college, or high school students regarding attendance at the University. Athletic Boosters are also PROHIBITED from contacting or entertaining prospective student-athletes and/or their relatives and friends during all visits, whether official or unofficial.

Athletic Boosters ARE NOT permitted to reimburse the coach of a prospect for expenses incurred in transporting a prospect to visit the campus. They are also PROHIBITED from entertaining high school, preparatory or junior college coaches at any location.


Occasional Meals
Occasional Meals for student-athletes may be provided. However, the following must be met:
  • The meal must be provided in an individual’s home (NOT a restaurant, but it may be catered at the individual’s home)
  • Meals must be restricted to infrequent and special occasions.
  • Transportation may be provided ONLY if the occasional meal is at the home of THAT athletic booster.

What are examples of impermissible recruiting activities?

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.

 

What are examples of permissible activities?

Even though there are many rules prohibiting your involvement with prospects and the recruiting process, 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.

 

What are examples of impermissible extra benefits for enrolled student-athletes?

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.

 

What are examples of permissible benefits for enrolled student-athletes?

With the various NCAA rules and regulations regarding benefits to student-athletes, it may seem difficult to be a part of a university’s athletic programs. However, you can show your support as a booster in other ways. Boosters may:

  • 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.
Commonly Asked Questions
  • Q. Can I pay or provide transportation costs incurred by relatives or friends of a student-athlete to visit the campus or elsewhere?

    A. NO

  • Q. Can I provide a student-athlete or a prospective student-athlete with tickets to athletic events or concerts?

    A. NO In addition, you may not provide free tickets to friends/relatives of student-athletes or prospective student-athletes. This includes University events as well as professional even

  • Q. Can I provide a student-athlete with a discount to a commercial agency such as a movie theater, a hotel, a restaurant, a car dealership, etc?

    A. NO unless the same discount is offered to all University students.

  • Q. Can I pay, in whole or part, education expenses for enrolled students-athletes or promise to do so for prospective student-athletes?

    A. NO

  • Q. Can I provide any payment of expenses or the loan of an automobile for a student-athlete to return home or any other location for any personal reason?

    A. NO

  • Q. Can I provide enrolled student-athletes with professional services (for which a fee would normally be charged) for personal reasons?

    A. NO

  • Q. Can I give money to entertain student-athletes and friends?

    A. NO

  • Q. Can I reward a student-athlete for his/her athletic performance?

    A. NO. All awards must conform with NCAA awards legislation and must be approved by the University.

  • Q. Can I use the name or picture or an enrolled student-athlete to directly advertise, recommend or promote the sales or use of a commercial product or service of any kind?

    A. NO

  • Q. Can I or a group of Booster Club Members attend a recruit’s High School contest?

    A. YES, as long as it is NOT at the direction of the Head Coach and NO CONTACT is made.

What is institutional control?

Institutional control of athletics is a fundamental requirement of NCAA legislation. Specifically, the NCAA constitution states that the university must:

  • Control its intercollegiate athletic programs in compliance with the rules and regulations of the NCAA.
  • Monitor its program to ensure compliance.
  • Identify and report to the NCAA instances in which compliance has not been achieved and take corrective actions.
  • Ensure those members of university staff, student-athletes and other individuals or groups representing the university’s athletic interests comply with NCAA rules and regulations. As a member of the NCAA, the university is responsible for the actions of its alumni, supporters and fans.

 

Are there any rules for the employment of enrolled student-athletes by boosters?

Student-athletes may only be compensated for work 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.

Compliance Office
University of Memphis Athletic Department
Memphis, TN 38152
901.678.4122

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