On August 8, 2012, the NCAA released an educational column regarding awards received by an individual prior to initial collegiate enrollment. Specifically, the column noted, these awards are permissible if “the awards conform to the rules of the amateur sports organization that governs the applicable competition and do not include cash, or items redeemable for cash, in excess of actual and necessary expenses.” The awards are still subject to all other NCAA legislation requirements.
The NCAA provides the following examples explaining the legislation:
- A PSA may receive educational expenses or services prior to collegiate enrollment from any individual or entity other than an agent, professional sports team/organization, member institution or representative of athletics interests, provided the payment for such expenses or services is disbursed directly to the individual, organization or educational institution (e.g., high school, preparatory school) providing the educational expense or service. Therefore, it is permissible for a prospective student-athlete to receive a scholarship to attend a high school as an award for winning a tournament, provided the scholarship comes from a permissible source and is disbursed directly to the high school.
- A scholarship awarded by a permissible source that will be used toward educational expenses at a member institution (i.e., after collegiate enrollment) is subject to the requirements governing financial aid from outside sources.
- These scholarships may not include costs associated with athletics training (e.g., training academy tuition). General training expenses are permissible only if approved and provided directly by the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) or the appropriate national governing body in the sport.
This educational column referenced NCAA Division I Bylaws 22.214.171.124.3.1 (educational expenses or services — prior to collegiate enrollment.), 126.96.36.199 (benefits from prospective agents), 188.8.131.52.4.8 (exception for training expenses), 184.108.40.206 (financial aid from an established and continuing program) and 220.127.116.11 (prior to enrollment); and a staff interpretation (11/9/94, Item No. a)].