Several high-profile NCAA enforcement investigations of colleges and universities within the prior five years have involved representatives of an institution’s athletics interests (“boosters”). The boosters’ infractions primarily stemmed from recruiting and/or awards and benefits issues. NCAA legislation prohibits boosters from being involved in the recruitment of a prospective student-athlete, including providing a prospect with anything of value (an “inducement”). Furthermore, boosters are prohibited (as anyone else) from providing an enrolled student-athlete with an extra-benefit. Accordingly, NCAA member institutions should evaluate their booster policies and procedures to minimize rules-violations, including:
- A policy aimed at preventing improper contact between non-staff boosters and prospective student-athletes on campus for official and unofficial visits. The policy could limit boosters’ access to locker rooms, recruiting facilities, practice facilities, playing fields or courts, and the sidelines before, during, and after athletics contests and during practices.
- A formal education program to inform boosters of the limitations on their activities under NCAA rules, as well as the penalties that can arise if they are responsible for rule-violations.