Dear Lumberjack Fans,
Stephen F. Austin State University, as a member of the Southland Conference and the National Collegiate Athletic Association, is responsible for ensuring that its student-athletes, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends abide with conference and NCAA regulations. Under these rules, alumni and friends can be categorized as "representatives of SFA athletics interests."
This information is presented as a quick reference to the many NCAA rules which apply to our "athletics representatives." Not all applicable situations are included, so please call if you have questions. The department appreciates your interest and support, but reminds you that an inappropriate contact or an inadvertent action on your part can jeopardize the eligibility of our prospects and student-athletes. When in doubt, the safest action is to check first and act second.
The University is proud to have the loyal support of our alumni and friends for its athletic programs. As we strive for national prominence, we must always seek the highest standard of ethical conduct. With your assistance and cooperation, we believe we can accomplish both goals.
Many situations are presented in this guide, but not every possibility has been covered. If you ever have questions regarding your involvement with prospective or enrolled student-athletes and the NCAA rules and regulations, contact:
Robert Hill - Director of Athletics
Matt Fenley - Associate Athletics Director for Compliance and Student Service
P.O. Box 13010
Nacogdoches, TX 75962
Phone (936) 468-3501
Fax (936) - 468 - 5895
Recruiting by Representatives of Athletics Interests
1. Are you a "booster" (representative of the institution's athletics interests)?
Yes, if you:
are or have ever been a member of an agency or organization promoting SFA's Athletics Program;
have ever made a donation to the SFA Varsity Club or to one of the athletics booster organizations (i.e., Hoop Group, QuarterJack Club, Tip-In Club, On Deck Circle & Center Circle Club);
are assisting or have ever been asked by the Athletics staff to assist in recruiting prospects;
are assisting or have ever assisted in providing benefits to enrolled student-athletes or their families; or
are or have ever been involved otherwise in the promotion of the SFA Athletics Program. (NCAA Bylaw 13.02.14)
2. Once an individual has been identified as a "booster," how long does he or she retain this identity?
Forever. (NCAA Bylaw 13.02.14.1)
3. Is SFA responsible for the acts of its boosters and booster support groups such as the Hoop Group, QuarterJack Club, Tip-In Club, On Deck Circle & Center Circle Club ?
Yes. Boosters are governed by the same NCAA and institutional rules and regulations as those placed upon all institutional athletics staff members.
4. What restrictive "booster" legislation involves recruiting?
Bylaw 18.104.22.168 speaks directly to the DONT'S of boosters and recruiting
Telephone Conversations - only initiated by prospect and not for questions concerning the institutions athletic program.
Observing a Contest - certainly can observe any athletic contest on your own initiative, but you may not contact a prospect or the parents or guardians during these events.
Evaluation - may not contact a prospects coach, principal or counselor in an attempt to evaluate prospects.
Visit a School - may not visit a prospects educational institution to pick up film/ tape or academic transcripts pertaining to a prospect for evaluation purposes
5. Who is considered a "prospect" (prospective student-athlete)?
"A prospective student-athlete ("prospect") is a student who has started classes for the ninth grade. In addition, a student who has not started classes for the ninth grade becomes a prospective student-athlete if the institution provides such an individual (or the individual's relatives or friends) any financial assistance or other benefits that the institution does not provide to prospective students generally." (NCAA Bylaw 13.02.12)
6. How long is a prospective student-athlete considered a prospect?
A prospective student-athlete remains a prospect even after signing a National Letter of Intent to attend an institution, and both the institution and the prospect continue to be governed by NCAA recruiting legislation until: (a) the prospect reports for regular squad practice; (b) the registrar or director of admissions certifies that the prospect is officially registered and enrolled at the institution on the opening day of classes; or (c) the prospect attends a class or classes in any regular term.
7. What is the definition of a contact?
A contact is any face-to-face encounter between a prospective student-athlete, the prospect's parents or legal guardian(s), and an institutional staff member or athletics representative during which any dialogue occurs in excess of an exchange of a greeting. Additionally, any face-to-face encounter that is prearranged or that takes place on the grounds of the prospect's educational institution or at the site of organized competition or practice involving the prospect or the team the prospect represents shall be considered a contact, regardless of the conversation which occurs. (NCAA Bylaws 13.02.4, 13.1.5)
8. Is the contact rule applicable to established family friends or neighbors?
No. However, it must be understood that such contacts are not made for recruiting purposes and are not initiated by the institution's coaching staff members. (NCAA Bylaw 22.214.171.124 d)
9. If only SFA coaches and Athletic Department or institutional staff members may recruit a prospect by telephone, in writing, or in person, how may a booster help?
A booster may:
attend as many athletic contests as you desire to evaluate talent;
call, write, or send newspaper articles to the SFA coaching staff regarding outstanding student-athletes in his/her area; and
feel free to offer assistance to members of the SFA coaching staff who are recruiting in his/her community.
10. As a booster, if I attend a prospect's athletic event, may I talk to the prospect's coach after the event?
No. A booster may not contact the coach, the prospect or family members, the principal, or counselor in an attempt to evaluate a prospect. (NCAA Bylaw 126.96.36.199 d)
11. As a booster, may I visit the prospect's school to pick up transcripts or videotape/film to send to a college coach?
No. A booster may not visit the prospect's school to pick up transcripts or videotapes/film pertaining to the evaluation of the prospect's academic or athletic ability. (NCAA Bylaw 188.8.131.52 e)
12. What if a booster attends an athletic event and finds himself/herself sitting next to the parents of the prospect?
Do not initiate conversation with the relatives. If conversation is initiated with the booster, respond in a civil manner but do not discuss the SFA Athletics Program with them. If they ask questions about the program, remind them that the NCAA prohibits a booster from discussing the program with them. Encourage the family to contact the SFA Athletic Department directly.
13. May a booster attend a public event (e.g., high school awards banquet or dinner) at which prospects are in attendance?
Yes, BUT any contact with a prospect may not be prearranged by an Athletic Department staff member, and no attempt may be made to recruit the prospect.
14. May a booster play a "pick-up" game (i.e., basketball, softball, etc.) with prospects?
Yes, PROVIDED there is no attempt to recruit the prospect and the game is not prearranged by a member of the Athletic Department staff.
15. May a prospect call a booster?
Yes. A booster may have a telephone conversation with a prospect only if the prospect initiates the call. The telephone call may not be prearranged by an institutional staff member, and the booster is not permitted to have a recruiting conversation with the prospect but may exhibit normal civility. The booster must refer any questions about the institution's athletics program to the athletics department staff. (NCAA Bylaws 184.108.40.206.1.1, 220.127.116.11 a)
16. During the recruitment of a prospect or prior to a prospect's enrollment, may a booster be involved directly or indirectly in making arrangements for a prospect or the prospect's relatives or friends to receive money, financial aid, or equivalent inducements, regardless if similar financial aid, benefits, or arrangements are available to prospective students in general, their relatives, or friends? (NCAA Bylaws 13.2.1, 13.16.1)
No. Other types of inducements that are prohibited include, but are not limited to (NCAA Bylaw 18.104.22.168):
the use of an automobile;
signing or cosigning a note for a loan;
special discounts or payment arrangements on a loan;
cash or tangible items (e.g., clothes, cars, jewelry, stereo equipment, even a soft drink);
the promise of employment after college;
an employment arrangement for a prospect's relatives or friends;
purchase of items or services from a prospect or the prospect's family at inflated prices;
free or reduced-cost housing arrangements;
free or reduced-cost services or rentals of any type;
the promise of financial aid for post-graduate education (NCAA Bylaw 13.16.1);
the promise to pay or arrange payment of transportation costs incurred by relatives or friends of prospective student-athletes (NCAA Bylaw 22.214.171.124);
the use of SFA's athletic equipment (e.g., for a high school all-star game); or
sponsorship of or arrangement for an awards banquet for high school, prep school, or two-year college athletes by an institution, boosters, or its alumni groups or booster clubs.
17. May boosters entertain relatives and friends of a prospective student-athlete at any site off campus?
18. May a booster make a contact with a prospect and/or his or her guardian during an official or unofficial visit to campus?
No. (NCAA Bylaw 126.96.36.199)
19. Is it permissible for a booster to be involved in the on-campus entertainment of a prospect and/or his or her guardian during an official or unofficial visit?
No. (NCAA Bylaws 188.8.131.52)
20. Is it permissible for a booster to reimburse the coach of a prospect for expenses incurred in transporting a prospect to visit the campus?
21. Is it permissible for a booster to entertain high school, prep school, or junior college coaches at any location?
No. However, the SFA Athletic Department may provide coaches with complimentary tickets to home athletic contests. (NCAA Bylaw 13.8.1)
22. Is it permissible for a booster to pay costs incurred by an athletics talent scout in studying or recruiting a prospect?
No. (NCAA Bylaw 184.108.40.206)
23. Is it permissible for a booster to employ or arrange for the employment of a prospect before the completion of his/her senior year in high school?
No. However, NCAA Bylaw 220.127.116.11 permits an institution to arrange employment for a prospect that begins after the prospect's senior year in high school. Subsequent to a prospect's signing a National Letter of Intent, it is permissible for a booster to contact the prospect by telephone, in writing, or face to face concerning summer employment arrangements.
24. Is it permissible for a booster to provide free admission to SFA's away contests to prospects, their relatives, or friends?
No. (NCAA Bylaw 18.104.22.168)
25. Is it permissible for a booster to pay in whole or in part the registration fees for summer sports camps?
No. (NCAA Bylaw 22.214.171.124)
26. What if a booster hears that a junior college athlete or an athlete enrolled in another four-year institution is unhappy and would like to transfer?
A booster may not contact an enrolled student-athlete at another institution for the purpose of encouraging transfer to SFA and participation in our athletic program. The booster may give this information to the appropriate SFA coaching staff.
27. How may faculty members, either boosters or non-boosters, be involved in the recruiting process of a prospect?
Faculty members are not permitted to recruit off campus except for a luncheon, dinner, or brunch at the home of a faculty member during a prospect's official visit to campus. Faculty may have on-campus contact with prospects. They may write prospects. At the request of a coach, faculty may telephone prospects in accordance with the applicable one-per-week limitation and the dates an institution may place telephone calls to prospects. (NCAA Bylaw 126.96.36.199 a, 188.8.131.52)
28. Are boosters prohibited from any contact with prospects?
The NCAA Interpretations Committee has determined that this regulation was not intended to relate to an unavoidable contact between a prospect and a booster, it being understood that such a contact (a) is not prearranged by the booster or an athletic department staff member; (b) does not take place on the grounds of the prospect's educational institution or at the sites of organized practice or competition involving the prospect or the prospect's team; (c) is not for the purpose of recruiting the prospect, and (d) involves only normal civility. Contacts between a prospect and booster relating to summer employment subsequent to the prospect's signing of the National Letter of Intent are the exception. (NCAA Bylaw 184.108.40.206 g)
NCAA Rules Regarding Contacts with Currently Enrolled Student-Athletes
29. A faculty member who is a Varsity Club member will be out of town and unable to use his basketball tickets for an upcoming game. Two student-athletes are in one of his classes. May the faculty member give the tickets to the student-athletes for this particular game?
No. This would be considered an "extra benefit." An extra benefit is any special arrangement by an institutional employee or booster to provide a student-athlete or the student-athlete's relative(s) or friends a benefit not expressly authorized by NCAA legislation. (NCAA Bylaw 16.11) Examples of special arrangements or extra benefits include, but are not limited to (NCAA Bylaw 16.11.2):
the use of an automobile;
the purchase of meals at restaurants by boosters;
special discounts or payment arrangement or credit on a purchase such as airline tickets, clothing, or a service such as laundry or dry cleaning;
the use of a booster's telephone or credit card for personal calls without charge or at a reduced cost;
services from commercial agencies without charge or at reduced rate (e.g., movie tickets from a movie theater, the use of a car from a car dealer);
a loan of money;
a guarantee of bond;
signing or cosigning a note with an outside agency to arrange a loan; or
giving a student-athlete tickets to an athletic, institution, or community event.
30. Is it permissible for a booster to expend funds to entertain student-athletes and friends?
No. (NCAA Bylaw 220.127.116.11.3)
31. Is it permissible for a booster to provide summer employment for student-athletes?
Yes. HOWEVER, compensation must be paid only for work actually performed and at a rate commensurate with the going rate in that locality for service of like character. (NCAA Bylaw 12.4.1)
32. Is it permissible for a booster to employ a student-athlete during the academic year?
Yes. NCAA Bylaw 18.104.22.168 does allow for student-athletes to take employment on or off campus during the academic year.
33. Is it permissible for a booster to employ or use the name or picture of a student-athlete to directly advertise, recommend, or promote sales or use of a commercial product or service of any kind?
No. The use of a student-athlete's name or picture in this manner affects the student-athlete's amateur status and eligibility to compete in intercollegiate athletics. (NCAA Bylaw 22.214.171.124.1)
34. Is it permissible for a booster to pay or provide the actual and necessary expenses (room, board, and transportation costs) incurred by friends or relatives to visit a student athlete?
No. (NCAA Bylaw 126.96.36.199.1)
35. Is it permissible for a booster to 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 or to receive an award?
No. (NCAA Bylaw 16.11.2)
36. Is it permissible for a booster to provide gifts or awards to a student-athlete for his or her athletic performance?
No. All awards must conform to NCAA awards legislation and must be approved by the institution. (NCAA Bylaw 188.8.131.52)
37. Is it permissible for a booster club to finance a banquet for a SFA athletic team?
Yes. One time per year an institution's athletics booster club may finance an intercollegiate team's transportation expenses to a recognition banquet, provided all expenses are paid through the institution's athletic department, the location of the event is not more than 100 miles from the campus, and no tangible award is provided to members of the team. (NCAA Bylaw 184.108.40.206)
38. Is it permissible for a booster to provide an honorarium to a student-athlete for a speaking engagement?
No. Student-athletes may receive only necessary travel expenses when speaking to educational or charitable groups. All speaking engagements must be approved in advance by the SFA Athletic Department. (NCAA Bylaw 16.9.1)
39. Is it permissible for a booster to permit the use of a telephone or credit card and/or pay for long-distance telephone calls?
No. It is not permissible to allow a student-athlete to use a telephone or credit card for personal reasons without charge or at a reduced cost. (NCAA Bylaw 16.11.2)
40. Is it permissible for a booster to provide student-athletes with professional services without charge or at a reduced cost?
No. Professional services provided at less than normal or at no expense to a student-athlete are considered extra benefits. (NCAA Bylaw 16.11.2)
41. Is it permissible for a booster to have a student-athlete or team over to his/her home for a meal?
Yes. A student-athlete or a team may receive an occasional home-style meal from a SFA staff member or booster provided (NCAA Bylaw 220.127.116.11):
(a) the meal is in an individual's home, not a restaurant, and may be catered;
(b) meals must be restricted to infrequent and special occasions;
(c) SFA staff members may provide transportation to student-athletes to attend the meal. Boosters may not provide transportation to student-athletes to attend the meal unless the meal is at that booster's home.
42. When a SFA team is competing out-of- town, is it permissible for a Booster to provide dinner for the team?
Yes. The NCAA permits student-athletes AS A TEAM to receive special benefits not permitted as individuals. Arrangement for such events must be made in advance with the head coach and the athletic department.