Information for Representatives of Athletics Interests (Boosters)
Definition of a Representative or Booster: NCAA legislation defines a representative of the institution's athletics interests or booster as an individual or agency that has done any of the following (once defined as a booster, an individual or agency remains a booster indefinitely):
- Participated in or is a member of any agency or organization that promotes or assists the institution's athletics program or its student-athletes
- Has made financial contributions to the athletics program or any of its booster groups
- Has assisted or has been requested to assist in the recruitment of prospects
- Assisted or is assisting in providing benefits to enrolled student-athletes or their families
- Has been involved in the promoting the institution's athletics programs
- Additional actions that prompt someone to be considered a booster may include, but is not limited to, being a season-ticket holder, attending or graduating from the institution, previously being employed by the institution, or participating in athletics at the institution.
Contact with prospective student-athletes: NCAA rules prohibit representatives of an institution's athletics interests (boosters) from having any contact with prospective student-athletes. This restriction includes, but is not limited to, in-person contact, telephone contact, correspondence, e-mail or discussion on Internet chat rooms or message boards. This restriction continues to apply even after the prospect has signed a National Letter of Intent with the University of Houston and continues until the prospect either reports for preseason practice in his or her sport or enrolls as a full-time student at the University of Houston.
In addition, contacts with a prospect by an established family friend or neighbor that is also a booster is permissible as long as such contacts are not made for recruiting purposes and are not initiated by a member of the institution's coaching staff. Unavoidable incidental contact between a representative and a prospect is permitted provided that the contact is not prearranged, does not take place on the grounds of the prospect's education institution or the sites of organized competition or practice, is not made for the purpose of recruitment and involves only normal civility. Contact between representatives of the institution's athletics interests (boosters) and prospects is not permitted during a prospect's official or unofficial visit to the University of Houston's campus, even if the prospect is not on campus at the time of the contact.
Employment of Student-Athletes and Prospective Student-Athletes: NCAA rules do not prevent student-athletes from working during any point during the year. However, NCAA rules do require that student-athletes be paid only for work actually performed and that student-athletes be paid at a rate commensurate with the work being performed, their level of experience and amount of time committed to the work. Employers of student-athletes cannot provide transportation for student-athletes to and from work unless the employer provides transportation to all employees doing the same type of work as the student-athlete being transported. Also, employers of student-athletes may not utilize the student-athlete's name, picture or likeness in promoting their business or product. Any student-athlete that accepts pay for work not performed, excessive pay, impermissible transportation or permits his or her name, picture or likeness to be used to promote a business or product has put his or her eligibility at risk.
NCAA rules permit prospects to be employed by an institution (excluding sports camp and clinics) or its representatives but only after the completion of the high school prospect's senior year in high school. Two-year college prospects may not be employed until the individual has withdrawn or graduated from the two-year college. NCAA rules also require that prospects be paid only for work actually performed and that they be paid at a rate commensurate with the work being performed, their level of experience and amount of time committed to the work. Employers of prospects cannot provide transportation for student-athletes to and from work unless the employer provides transportation to all employees doing the same type of work as the student-athlete being transported. Also, employers of prospects may not utilize the student-athlete's name, picture or likeness in promoting their business or product. Any prospect that accepts pay for work not performed, excessive pay, impermissible transportation or permits his or her name, picture or likeness to be used to promote a business or product has put his or her eligibility at risk.
Extra-Benefit Restrictions: NCAA rules prohibit student-athletes from receiving a benefit not available to all students enrolled at the institution or not expressly authorized by NCAA legislation. An impermissible extra-benefit refers to any special arrangement by an institutional employee or representative of the institution's athletics interests (booster) to provide the student-athlete, his family or friends with a benefit. Examples of impermissible extra-benefits for student-athletes, their families and friends include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Special discounts, payment arrangements or credit on a purchase or a service from an institutional employee or representative of its athletics interests.
- Free or reduced-cost services for professional services unless such rates or free services are available on the same basis to the general student population.
- Use of a telephone, facsimile machine, or credit card for personal reasons.
- A loan of money from an institutional employee or representative of the institution's athletics interests.
- A guarantee of bond from an institutional employee or representative of the institution's athletics interests.
- An automobile or use of an automobile from an institutional employee or representative of an institution's athletics interests.
- Signing or co-signing a note from an outside agency for a loan for the student-athlete, his or her family or friends.
- Providing transportation to a student-athlete even if the student-athlete reimburses the provider for the appropriate expense of the transportation.
- Gifts of any kind including cash or any tangible item.
Inducements for Prospective Student-Athletes: An institutional staff member or any representative of the institution's athletics interest shall not be involved, directly or indirectly, in making arrangements for or giving or offering to give any financial aid or other benefits to a prospect or a prospect's relatives or friends. Specifically prohibited financial aid, benefits and arrangements include, but are not limited to, the following:
- An employment arrangement for a prospect's relatives
- Gift of clothing or equipment
- Cosigning of loans
- Providing loans to a prospect's relatives or friends
- Cash or like items
- Any tangible item, including merchandise
- Free or reduced-cost services, rentals or purchases of any type
- Free or reduced-cost housing
Occasional Meals for Student-Athletes: NCAA rules permit student-athletes to receive an occasional family home meal from a representative of athletics interests on infrequent and special occasions as long as the meal is provided in an individual's home (catering is permitted). Parents of student-athletes can provide occasional meals to team members of their child at any location. Reasonable local transportation may be provided to student-athletes to attend such meals. However, only the representative that is providing the meal in his or her home may provide the transportation to the meal.
Supporting University of Houston Athletics: The best way for representatives of the University of Houston's athletics interests to support our athletics program is to purchase season and individual game tickets, join Cougar Pride, attend our athletics events and cheer for our student-athletes. Your donation to Cougar Pride will assist the athletics department in paying the increasing cost of athletics scholarships. While it is understandable that our supporters desire to express their gratitude to our student-athletes in ways that may seem warranted and appropriate under other circumstances, NCAA rules may prohibit such activities. Please feel free to contact the Office of Athletics Compliance before acting; you may be putting that student-athlete's eligibility at risk.
Contacting the Office of Athletics Compliance: The Office of Athletics Compliance is available to answer your questions regarding NCAA rules and concerns that you may have on how such rules would apply to your circumstances. This web page was designed as a resource to assist you in obtaining information that will make you aware of NCAA legislation and reduce the possibility of NCAA violations. If the information included here is not clear to you or your specific question is not addressed in this information please call and ask us before you act. In our view you can never ask an inappropriate question if you are gathering information so that you can prevent the violation of a rule. Please contact us using the contact information on this web page. We look forward to hearing from you.