Student-Athlete Opportunity Fund (SAOF)
Per guidelines set forth by the NCAA and the Conference, the SAOF is intended to provide direct benefits to student-athletes. As a guiding principle, the fund shall be used to assist student-athletes in meeting financial needs that arise in conjunction with participation in intercollegiate athletics, enrollment in an academic curriculum or that recognize academic achievement. Allocations from the SAOF may also be utilized to supplement the Special Assistance Fund.
ELIGIBILITY FOR THE FUND
All student-athletes are eligible to receive SAOF benefits, regardless of whether they are grant-in-aid recipients, have demonstrated need or have either exhausted eligibility or no longer participate due to medical reasons. Additionally, student-athletes receiving monies from the Special Assistance Fund may also receive SAOF benefits.
PROHIBITED USES FOR THE FUND
Pursuant to NCAA Bylaw 15.01.7.2, member institutions and conferences shall not use monies received from the fund for the following:
- Salaries and Benefits.
- Grants-in-aid (other than summer school) for student-athletes with remaining eligibility.
- Capital improvements.
With the exceptions of the prohibited uses noted, institutions shall be allowed flexibility for distribution of the SAOF. The fund should be allocated for the direct benefit of individual student-athletes. The fund is not intended to displace funds currently budgeted for student-athlete support services. Institutions are also discouraged from dispersing the fund into general departmental budgets.
ADMINISTRATION OF THE FUND Institutions may not accumulate more than the total allocation received over the previous two years. The succeeding allocation will be forfeited or reduced if that amount is exceeded. However, institutions may escrow portions of the fund for future earmarked expenditures (e.g., recognition of academic achievement)
The responsibility for oversight and administration of the fund, including interpretations, rests solely with the Conference and member institutions. Institutions are required to report the use of the fund through the Southeastern Conference Opportunity Fund website. The website has the ability to run reports to track category usage of the Fund.
The Conference shall review the financial reports concerning the fund uses to ensure the fund is achieving its stated goal of providing direct benefits to student-athletes to pay costs that arise in conjunction with participation in athletics and enrollment in an academic curriculum.
Each institution is responsible for identifying financial aid and tax implications, including the cost of attendance restrictions, affecting distribution of the fund to all student-athletes.
EXAMPLES OF PERMISSIBLE USES OF THE FUND (LIST IS NOT EXHAUSTIVE)
Educational Expenses and Fees
- Summer School.
- Fifth or Sixth Year Aid.
- Postgraduate Scholarship.
- Postgraduate or Internship Fees.
- International Student Fees and Taxes.
- Graduate School Exam Fees.
- Professional Program Testing.
- Expendable Supplies.
- Educational Supplies (e.g. laptop computers, cameras).
- Other Educational expenses OR Additional SASAF Funding for Academic Course Supplies.
Health and Safety Expenses
- Insurance Premiums for Student-Athletes.
- Supplemental Insurance.
- Medical Expenses for Student-Athletes (not covered by another insurance program for student-athletes not eligible for SAF).
- Dental/Vision Expenses for Student-Athletes (not covered by another insurance program for student-athletes not eligible for SAF).
- Medical Expenses for Student-Athletes’ Spouses/Dependents.
- Other Health and Safety Expenses OR Supplemental SASAF Funding for Medical and Dental Expenses.
Personal or Family Expenses
- Clothing Allowance or Enhancement of Clothing Allowance from Special Assistance Fund.
- Emergency Travel for Student-Athletes, Spouses and/or Dependents.
- Emergency Expenses for Student-Athletes, Spouses and/or Dependents.
- Travel Expenses for Family Members to be present as a Student-Athlete is honored.
- Travel Expenses for Team Members being honored by Governmental Body.
- Other Personal/Family Expenses OR Supplemental SASAF Funding for Clothing and Essential Expenses or Student-Athlete & Family Emergency Expenditures.
Institutional Academic or Programming Enhancements
- Academic Achievement or Graduation Awards.
- Academic Support Services.
- Other Academic or Programming Expenses.