On May 13, 2011, the NCAA academic and membership affairs staff issued an interpretation concerning recreational activities during official and unofficial visits. Specifically, the staff “determined that during an official or unofficial visit, a prospective student-athlete may participate in recreational activities in a facility (on- or off-campus) that is not open to the general public (e.g., campus recreation center, golf course, swimming pool), provided such activities are not organized or observed by members of the athletics department coaching staff (including strength and conditioning coaches) and are not designed to test the athletics abilities of the prospective student-athlete”. Further, the staff concluded “in situations in which there is a fee associated with the use of the facility (e.g., guest fee at a private facility used by the institution for practice or competition, admission fee for open swim session at institutional recreation center), a prospective student-athlete shall pay the going rate associated with the use of that facility”. The interpretation references NCAA Division I Bylaws 126.96.36.199.6 (preferential treatment, benefits, or services), 13.2 (offers and inducements), 13.6 (official (paid) visit), 13.7 (unofficial (nonpaid) visit) and 188.8.131.52 (recreational activities).
The Michael L. Buckner Law Firm recommends colleges and universities:
1. Brief coaches, athletics staff and recreational facility staff on the interpretation during the next rules-education session.
2. Provide rules-education concerning this issue to student hosts and prospective student-athletes.
3. Conduct spot-checks or follow-up activities to ensure compliance with the interpretation and applicable NCAA legislation.