On July 26, 2012, the academic and membership affairs staff issued an interpretation concerning the receipt of prize money prior to full-time collegiate enrollment in sports other than tennis. Specifically, the staff confirmed that “prior to full-time collegiate enrollment, an individual may accept prize money based on place finish or performance in an open individual or team event (an event that is not invitation only), provided such prize money does not exceed actual and necessary expenses and is provided only by the sponsor of the open event.”
The NCAA provides an example of a PSA participating in a three-on-three basketball tournament to illustrate this interpretation. The PSA here would be able to accept prize money up to the value of the actual and necessary expenses the PSA occurred, but if the team the PSA participated on paid these expenses the PSA could not accept the prize money.
This interpretation referenced NCAA Division I Bylaws 184.108.40.206.1 (exception for prize money prior to full-time collegiate enrollment – sports other than tennis) and 220.127.116.11.2 (exception for prize money prior to full-time collegiate enrollment – tennis); staff interpretation (11/17/04, item 1b), which has been archived]
In light of this interpretation, the Michael L. Buckner Law Firm recommends institutions’ athletics compliance include the interpretation in the next scheduled rules-education session for athletics staff members.