On March 1, 2012, the NCAA released an educational column discussing donations to outside sports clubs or training centers. Specifically, the column noted “it is not permissible for a member institution or a member institution’s booster club to sponsor or make a donation, directly or indirectly, to an outside sports club or training center (e.g., amateur club team, Olympic training center) that involves a student-athlete from that institution or any prospective student-athletes.”
The column further noted “it is not permissible to provide the names of representatives of the institution’s athletics interests to an outside sports club or training center participants for the purpose of soliciting donations. However, it is permissible for a representative of the institution’s athletics interests to donate to an outside sports club or training center, provided the representative acts independently of the institution, the funds are distributed through channels established by the organization conducting the fundraising activity and the funds are not earmarked directly for a specific student-athlete or prospective student-athlete.”
This educational column referenced NCAA Division I Bylaws 220.127.116.11.3 (institutional sponsorship of local sports clubs), 18.104.22.168 (fundraising for high school athletics program), 22.214.171.124.1 (involvement by local representatives of institution’s athletics interests), 16.02.3 (extra benefit) and 126.96.36.199 (general rule); and official interpretations (12/13/90, Item No. 4), (8/7/92, Item No. 9-a-(5)) and (5/8/95, Item No. 4).
In light of this interpretation, the Michael L. Buckner Law Firm recommends institutions’ athletics compliance: a) include this educational column in the next scheduled rules-education session for the athletics staff and coaches; and b) include this educational column in the next scheduled-rules education session for representatives of athletics interests.