What Role Can Boosters Play in Recruiting Prospective Student-Athletes?
In Division I, boosters - representatives of athletics interests - are prohibited from becoming involved in recruiting activities. Thus, they cannot make in-person, on- or off-campus recruiting contacts, and they cannot write or telephone prospects, their relatives, or legal guardians. If a prospect initiates a telephone call to a booster, the booster may speak to the prospect, however, the booster must refer all questions about the UA athletics program to the Athletics Department staff. In Division I, boosters may not contact prospects' coaches, principals, or counselors in an attempt to evaluate prospects, and they cannot visit prospects' schools to pick up transcripts or films pertaining to evaluation of the prospects' academic or athletic ability.
What happens if boosters make incidental contacts with prospects?
Sometimes boosters come into contact with prospects unavoidably, for purposes not related to recruiting. The "official" term for such an occurrence is "unavoidable incidental contact." These contacts cannot occur at a prospect's home, school, or at the site of an athletics practice or contest that involves a prospect. Such contacts are not considered incidental and are violations of recruiting rules. During an unavoidable incidental contact, any conversation with a prospect can involve only ordinary civility, and no recruitment can take place. Example of unavoidable incidental contact: Incidental contact between a prospect and a booster at one of your institution's athletics contests is permissible as long as prior arrangements were not made and no recruiting is involved. The UA Athletics Compliance Office publishes a guide to NCAA, SEC, and institutional policies for athletics representatives (boosters). If you would like to receive this guide, please send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Five Important Rules to Remember
- Only coaches and athletics department staff members are permitted to be involved in the recruiting process. Alumni, friends and "other representatives of athletic interest" who are not employed by the University are not permitted to contact a prospect (or members of the prospects family) by letter, telephone or in-person (on or off campus) for the purpose of soliciting their participation in the athletics program. UA faculty members are permitted to have contact with the prospects, but only while on the campus.
- A prospect remains a prospect even after he or she signs a Letter of Intent or financial aid agreement to attend the University. The prospect does not lose his/her prospect status until the start of classes at UA or the beginning of official team practice prior to the start of classes.
- The prohibition of contact with a prospect is intended to relate to unavoidable incidental contacts with a prospect by representatives of a member institution's athletics interest. It is understood that such a contact is not prearranged by the athletics representative or an athletics department staff member; is not made for the purpose of recruitment of the prospect: and involves only normal civility. For example, if you meet a high school student or junior college student-athlete, you can talk with them about anything except UA athletics. If you are attending a public function and find yourself talking to the parents of a prospect, you can talk about anything that doesn't relate to the athletics department.
- If a student-athlete accepts any benefits or special consideration based on his or her status as an athlete or because of athletic skill, the student-athlete will lose all eligibility for intercollegiate athletic participation. Do not do anything for prospective or enrolled student-athletes without specific authorization from the UA athletics compliance office.
- Representatives of athletics interest (boosters) are reminded that NCAA rules regarding enrolled student-athletes remain in effect throughout the entire year, including summer breaks. When student-athletes complete their final season of eligibility, they must abide by NCAA rules until the end of that academic year and/or until they are no longer receiving athletics financial aid.