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Important NCAA Rules and Regulations that Every Fan, Alumnus, and Friend of the University Should Know

Information Source:  VT Compliance Pamphlet Distributed with 1999 Football Season Tickets.  Be aware:  this information is intended to be a quick reference guide to provide a basic understanding of NCAA rules.  It is not all-inclusive, but rather a tool to help you avoid inadvertent involvement in a violation of NCAA legislation.

Remember to Always ASK BEFORE YOU ACT.

Rules Governing Recruiting
Rules Governing Contacts with Prospects
Rules Governing Benefits For Enrolled Student-Athletes
Definitions You Should Know
Frequently Asked Questions
VT Compliance Office Contact
The Role of Boosters in the Recruiting of Student-Athletes


Rules Governing Recruiting

Only coaches and athletic department staff members can be involved in the recruiting process. All "athletics representatives" or "boosters" who are not employees of Virginia Tech are prohibited from contacting a prospect by telephone, letter, or in person (regardless of location) for the purpose of encouraging participation in athletics at Virginia Tech.

A booster is not permitted to provide a prospect, a member of a prospectís family, a prospectís legal guardian, or a prospectís friend any special benefits or arrangements, including, but not limited to:

-Cash or loans

-Co-signing or arranging a loan

-Gifts of any kind (clothing, airline tickets, holiday cards, etc.)

-Special discounts for goods and services

-Use of an automobile

A booster is not permitted to entertain high school, prep school or junior college coaches or provide them with tickets to any Virginia Tech contest.

A booster may inform Virginia Tech coaches of prospects in his/her area by contacting a coach via telephone or letter. Newspaper clipping may be sent.

In cases where a pre-established relationship exists between a booster and a prospect, a member of a prospectís family, or a prospectís legal guardian, the booster is permitted to continue normal contacts with the understanding that such contacts are not made for recruiting purposes and are not arranged by Virginia Tech athletics department staff members.

Faculty and staff members of Virginia Tech, at the direction of the coaching staff, may write a prospect after September 1 at the start of his/her junior year in high school. Faculty and staff members may also telephone a prospect for the purpose of recruitment (in all sports except football) after July 1 following his/her junior year in high school.


Rules Governing Contacts with Prospects

A booster is not permitted to telephone, write, or make in-person contact with a prospect for the purpose of soliciting his/her enrollment at Virginia Tech or participation in the Hokie athletics program.

A booster is not permitted to be involved in making arrangements for a prospect, a member of a prospectís family, a prospectís legal guardian or a prospectís friend to receive money or financial aid of any kind.

A booster is not permitted to provide any transportation to prospects, including transportation to campus to attend athletic events.

A booster is not permitted to contact a prospectís coach, principal, or guidance counselor in an attempt to evaluate the prospect, and may not visit the prospectís educational institution to pick up films/videos or transcripts.

A booster is not permitted to provide free or reduced-cost tickets for any Virginia Tech home or away events to a prospect, a member of a prospectís family, a prospectís legal guardian, or a prospectís friend.

A booster, on his/her own initiative, may attend high school, or junior college athletic events or banquets where prospects are in attendance. Contact with a prospect or his/her relatives is not permitted. Should a parent or guardian of a prospect ask you questions, please direct their inquiries to the appropriate coach at Virginia Tech.

It is not permissible to invite selected high school or junior college athletes to alumni events. Alumni are permitted to entertain groups of prospect-age students under certain conditions where athletes are not singled-out.

When Virginia Tech athletics department staff members are invited to speak at an alumni function, be sure to inform them in advance if any prospects will be in attendance. There are certain time periods when coaches are prohibited from any contact with a prospect away from campus.

Virginia Tech faculty and staff members are permitted to contact prospects on campus only.


Rules Governing Benefits For Enrolled Student-Athletes

A booster is not permitted to provide a student-athlete with any "extra benefits" or special arrangements, such as: expense money, movie passes, free meals at restaurants, or reduced priced housing.

A booster is not permitted to provide preferential treatment or discounted professional services (medical, dental, legal, etc.) because of a student-athleteís athletic reputation or pay-back potential as a professional athlete.

A booster is not permitted to provide gifts or awards to a student-athlete for his/her athletic accomplishments. All awards must conform to NCAA restrictions and must be approved by Virginia Tech. Check with the Virginia Tech Compliance Office before permitting a hometown group or business to provide any award to a student-athlete.

A booster is not permitted to use the name or picture of a student athlete to directly advertise, recommend or promote the sale or use of a commercial product/service of any kind.

A booster is not permitted to pay any expenses incurred by student-athletes, their relatives or friends. This includes expenses for a student-athlete to travel home, as well as expenses (transportation, hotel, meals) for family or friends to visit campus or attend an away-from home event.

A booster may have student-athletes speak at charitable or educational functions, if approved in advance and coordinated through the athletics department. However, it is not permitted to provide an honorarium to a student-athlete for this type of speaking engagement. Expenses may be provided if approval is granted by the Virginia Tech Compliance Office.

A booster may provide a student-athlete or an entire team with an occasional meal under the following conditions:

-The meal must be provided in the boosterís home (not in a restaurant) and may be catered.

-The meal must be approved in advance by the respective head coach.

-These types of meals must be restricted to infrequent or special occasions.

A booster may employ student-athletes during the summer, regardless of any financial aid he/she may be receiving. However, the rate of compensation must be consistent with the area rate for like services and may only be for work actually performed.

A booster may employ a student-athlete during the academic year. However, the implications from such employment vary for each student and each sport. Therefore, always contact the Virginia Tech Compliance Office before employing any student-athlete during the academic year.

A Virginia Tech team that is "on the road" may be invited by a booster for dinner or to meet with alumni/friends in or near the city where the team is competing. Always make arrangements for such activities throughout he head coach.

A booster may contribute funds to finance a scholarship for a particular sport or position. However, it is not permissible to finance a scholarship for a particular prospect or student-athlete.

 

Note: Most of the impermissible actions detailed above will immediately render the involved student-athlete ineligible for competition.


Definitions You Should Know

Who is a "Representative of Virginia Tech Athletics Interests" (a.k.a. booster)?

A "representative of an institutionís athletics interests" (commonly referred to as a booster) is defined by the NCAA as anyone who:

-Is now, or previously been, a member of any organization promoting the institutionís intercollegiate athletics program.

-Has made a financial contribution to the athletics program or an athletics booster organization.

-Has helped arrange any employment for a student-athlete.

-Has been involved, in any way, in the promotion of the athletics program.

Please be aware that any former Virginia Tech student or former or current member of the Hokie Club is automatically considered a representative of Virginia Tech athletics interests (booster). According to NCAA rules, once an individual is identified as a booster, he/she retains that status forever.

Who is a "Prospective Student-Athlete?"

A "prospective student-athlete" (commonly referred to as a prospect) is defined by the NCAA as any individual who has begun classes for the ninth grade. A prospect remains a prospect until such time that he/she reports for practice or attends class as a full-time student (fall or spring semester) at Virginia Tech.

What constitutes "Recruitment?"

"Recruiting" is defined by the NCAA as any solicitation of a prospect, a member of a prospectís family, or a prospectís legal guardian for the purpose of securing the prospectís enrollment and ultimate participation in the Virginia Tech athletics program.

What constitutes a "Contact?"

A "contact" is any face-to-face encounter between a prospect, a member of a prospectís family, or a prospectís legal guardian during which any conversation occurs in excess of a greeting. Even an exchange of greetings is considered a contact if it takes place at the prospectís school, at the site of the prospectís competition or practice, or is pre-arranged.

There may be times when you, as a fan, alumnus, Hokie Club member or friend of the university, will come into contact with a prospect unavoidably. During such a contact, conversation with a prospect may involve only normal civility, it must conclude quickly, an no recruitment may take place. Any contact which occurs at a prospectís home, school, or at the site of a practice or contest is not considered incidental and will be deemed to be a violation of NCAA regulations.

Remember:

Consequences are severe if these rules are broken. Boosters found in violation of NCAA regulations are subject to losing benefits and privileges, including season tickets. Many infractions cases result in an NCAA mandate that the involved booster be forced to disassociate himself/herself completely from the university athletics program.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are former season-ticket holders or former Hokie Club members - who havenít attended a game or paid dues in several years - still considered "representatives of the universityís athletics interests" or "boosters" by NCAA legislation?

A: Yes. A representative/booster retains that classification for life.

Q: Can I give a birthday/holiday card or gift to a student-athlete?

A: No. The provision of anything tangible or anything of value (including reduced-priced products or services) due to an individualís status as an athlete is not permissible.

Q: Is the restriction on contacts with prospects and their family members applicable to friends and neighbors that I have known for years?

A: No. However, it must be remembered that your contacts with these individuals should not be made for recruiting purposes and may not be initiated by a member of the universityís athletics department.

Q: Does a prospect remain a prospect (for the purposes of NCAA recruiting legislation) even after he/she has signed a National Letter of Intent?

A: Yes. This status does not change until he/she attends classes for a fall or spring semester, or reports for preseason practice.

Q: If I meet the parents of a student-athlete, can I purchase soft drinks for them during a game at Lane Stadium or Cassell Coliseum?

A: No. Nothing of value (no matter how small) may be provided by a booster to the family of a student-athlete.

Always Remember: ASK BEFORE YOU ACT.


VT Compliance Office Contact

Please contact the Virginia Tech Compliance Office if you have any questions. Inquires should be addressed to:

Tim Parker
Virginia Tech Assistant Athletics Director
365 Jamerson Athletic Center
Blacksburg, VA 24061
tparker@vt.edu
(540)231-2937 or 231-5497

Always Remember: ASK BEFORE YOU ACT.


The Role of Boosters in the Recruiting of Student-Athletes

Per NCAA regulations, only coaches and athletics department staff members are permitted to be directly involved in the recruiting process. Boosters are not permitted to contact a prospect or his/her family by telephone, letter or in person (on- or off-campus) for the purpose of encouraging participation in the Tech athletics program. These regulations apply to Hokie Club members, alumni, season-ticket holders (past or current) and anyone who has ever donated money to the Tech athletics program.

If you find yourself in a conversation with a prospect or his/her relative(s) and the topic turns to the Tech athletics program, politely explain that NCAA regulations don't permit you to discuss this with them, and direct their questions to the Tech coach in that sport or another staff member.

NCAA Regulations DO permit the following:

  • Contacting a Tech coach regarding any prospect that you feel would be a worthy addition to the university and its athletics program.
  • Attendance at public functions where prospects may be (such as high school banquets).
  • Forwarding newspaper articles regarding prospects to Tech coaches.
  • Continuing existing relationships with families that include children of prospect age.

NCAA Regulations DO NOT permit the following:

  • Providing a prospect, his/her family or friends with any benefit or special arrangement, including (but not limited to):
    - transportation;
    - meals;
    - admission to an athletics event;
    - costs incurred to attend Tech camp;
    - entertainment;
    - costs incurred to visit campus;
    - free services or discounts;
    - gifts or awards.
  • Contacting a prospect's coach, principal or counselor for the purpose of evaluating the prospect; picking up films or transcripts from the prospect's high school, prep school or junior college.
  • Assisting in arrangements for a prospect's future financial aid.
  • Entertaining or providing tickets to a high school, prep school or junior college coach.

Remember that this is not an all-inclusive list, so please

"ASK BEFORE YOU ACT"

Contact THE TECH COMPLIANCE OFFICE at (540) 231-2937 or email tparker@vt.edu


This page last updated on November 06, 2016