Booster FAQ

WHAT IS A REPRESENTATIVE OF NIU'S ATHLETICS INTERESTS-A BOOSTER?

NIU is responsible for ensuring that its various constituencies (e.g., University staff and faculty, student-athletes, alumni and friends) abide by NCAA rules and regulations. NCAA rules indicate that all alumni, friends, and employees of the University are categorized as "representatives of NIU's athletics interests". The NCAA stipulates that once an individual has been identified as a representative or "booster" of the University's athletics programs, he or she retains this status forever--even if the individual is no longer associated with the athletics program.

A representative of NIU's athletics interests (i.e., a booster) is an individual or a business that:

  • Is or ever has been a contributor to the Huskie Athletic Support Fund (or former "Huskie Club") or any of the sport specific support groups under this umbrella; is or ever has been an employee of NIU; has ever made a donation of any kind to the NIU men's or women's athletic programs.
  • Has ever purchased season tickets for any of NIU's athletics programs; is the spouse of an employee of NIU; has ever helped to arrange or to provide summer employment for enrolled student-athletes or for prospects who have signed a NLI.
  • Has ever contacted (by letter, telephone or in person) a high school student, grades 9-12, for the purpose of encouraging the student to participate in any of NIU's athletics programs; has ever assisted in providing any benefit to enrolled student-athletes or their families; has ever been involved in any way with any of NIU's athletics programs.

EXTRA BENEFIT-WHAT IS AN "EXTRA BENEFIT"?

The NCAA defines an extra benefit as any special arrangement by an institutional employee or a representative of the institution's athletics interest ("booster") to provide a student-athlete (or a student-athlete's relative or friend) a benefit that is not generally available to other NIU students and their relative and/or friends. Therefore, please be aware of the following:

1. A student-athlete cannot accept anything from an employee of NIU, NIU athletics department employee or a Huskie athletics booster (e.g. , use of a car, hair cut, clothing, gifts, money, tickets for any kind of entertainment, payment of long distance telephone calls).

2. A student-athlete cannot accept free or reduced cost room and/or board from any NIU employee, NIU athletics department employee, or booster of NIU's athletic programs. This includes in DeKalb, in the student-athlete's home city or any other location. This would preclude a student-athlete from "house sitting" without paying rental costs at a comparable rate for similar housing in that locale.

3. A student-athlete may not accept free or reduced cost storage room for personal belongings for the summer months from any NIU employee, NIU athletics department employee, or booster of NIU's athletics programs.

4. A student-athlete cannot accept free or reduced merchandise or services from any merchant unless that free or reduced cost item is also available to the general public.

5. A student-athlete cannot eat at a restaurant as the guest of an NIU athletics booster or NIU employee. Athletics department employees can pay for an occasional meal at a restaurant provided prior approval is obtained from the Athletics Compliance Office.

6. On infrequent, special occasions (e.g., a birthday, Thanksgiving, etc.), a student-athlete may accept an invitation for a meal at the home of an NIU employee, NIU athletics department employee, or an athletics booster. 7. A student-athlete cannot use a NIU athletics department copy machine, fax machine or make long distance phone calls using athletics department equipment.

8. Members of the NIU athletics department staff or an athletics booster are not permitted to type reports, papers, letters, etc., for a student-athlete.

9. A student-athlete cannot receive a special discount, payment arrangement or credit on a purchase (e.g., airline ticket, clothing), or service (e.g., laundry, dry cleaning) from an NIU employee, NIU athletics department employee or an athletics booster.

10. A NIU employee, NIU athletics department employee, or a booster cannot provide a student-athlete with a loan of money, a guarantee of bond, the use of an automobile or the signing or co-signing of a note to arrange a loan, or pay or provide other compensation for work not performed or at unreasonable levels for work performed.

11. A NIU employee, NIU athletics department employee may provide a student-athlete only reasonable and occasional local transportation (i.e., within a 30 mile radius of the NIU campus). However, a NIU athletics department employee may not utilize a University vehicle for purposes of assisting a student-athlete's move from one residence to another.

HOW DOES THIS IMPACT ME?

As the NIU athletics department strives for academic and athletics excellence, we must always seek the highest standard of ethical conduct. As someone who interacts with members of the University's athletics programs, you need to be aware of your responsibilities, the accountability to which you are held and the limitations on the interactions which you may have with NIU's student-athletes.

During their enrollment at NIU, you and/or your family may befriend a student-athlete and his or her parents. Please be aware that your becoming "friends" with a student-athlete does not change their status as far as NCAA regulations are concerned. NCAA rules prohibit you from providing any extra benefit(s) to a currently enrolled student-athlete (or their family or friends). The acceptance by a student-athlete of any extra benefit is a violation of NCAA regulations and places the student-athlete's eligibility for intercollegiate competition in immediate jeopardy and could result in restrictions placed upon your involvement with NIU's athletics program and/or disciplinary or corrective action as set forth in both University policy and the provisions of the NCAA enforcement procedures.

The University is responsible for ensuring that all student-athletes, University employees and representatives of the University's athletics interests abide by NCAA rules and regulations. Any inappropriate, even inadvertent, activity on your part could result in:

1. A currently enrolled student-athlete being declared ineligible to participate for NIU.

2. The eligibility of a prospective student-athlete(s) being jeopardized.

3. Violations of NCAA regulations and sanctions placed on the University and the athletics programs.

4. Restrictions placed upon your involvement with NIU's athletics program.

5. Disciplinary or corrective action as set forth in both University policy and the provisions of the NCAA enforcement procedures.

Other Questions

Q. Is it permissible for a "booster" to expend funds to entertain student-athletes and their friends?

A. No.

Q. Is it permissible for a "booster" to pay or provide the actual and necessary expenses (room, board and transportation costs) incurred by friends or relatives to visit an enrolled student-athlete?

A. No.

Q. Is it permissible for a "booster" to provide gifts or awards to a student-athlete for his or her athletics performance?

A. No. All awards must conform to NCAA awards legislation and must be approved by the institution.

Q. Is it permissible for a "booster" to provide enrolled student-athletes with professional services (for which a fee would normally be charged) for personal reasons?

A. No. Professional services provided at less than normal or at no expense to a student-athlete are considered extra benefits.

Q. Is it permissible for a "booster" to provide enrolled student-athletes a home cooked meal?

A. Yes, provided it is on an 'occasional' basis and any such meal is not at a restaurant. Please note: All requests must receive prior approval from the Athletics Compliance Office.

Q. Is it permissible for a "booster" to provide local transportation to enrolled student-athletes for an occasional home-cooked meal?

A. Yes, the key word is 'occasional'! Please note: All requests must receive prior approval from the Athletics Compliance Office.

Q. Can "boosters" entertain relatives and friends of a prospective student-athlete at any site off campus?

A. No.

Q. Can a "booster" make contact with a prospective student-athlete and his or her legal guardian(s) on an official visit to the campus?

A. No. Athletics "boosters" are precluded from all recruiting activities.

Q. During an official visit to campus, is it permissible for a "booster" to entertain, buy a complimentary meal for or expend any funds on the prospective student-athlete, his or legal guardian(s), relatives or friends?

A. No. On an official visit to campus, the prospect may only be entertained by athletics department staff. The prospect is limited to three complimentary tickets distributed solely by the institution to a regular season home athletics event. The prospect may not be entertained whatsoever by "booster".

Q. Is it permissible for a "booster" to provide free admission to the institution's away-from-home contests to prospects, their friends or relatives?

A. No.

Q. Is the contact rule applicable to established family friends or neighbors?

A. No. However, it must be understood that such contacts may not be made for recruiting purposes and may not be initiated by the institution's coaching staff members.

Q. May a prospect call a "booster"?

A. Yes, a "booster" may have a telephone conversation with a prospect provided the prospect initiates the call and the call was not prearranged by an institutional staff member. A "booster" is not permitted to have a recruiting conversation with the prospect but may exhibit normal civility. A "booster" must refer any questions about the institution's athletics program to the athletics department staff.

Q. May a "booster" attend a public event (e.g., high school awards banquet or dinner) at which prospects are in attendance?

A. Yes, but any contact with a prospect may not be prearranged by an athletics department staff member, and no attempt may be made to recruit the prospect.

Q. May a "booster" engage in evaluation activities on behalf of the institution?

A. No, even though the legislation does not preclude a "booster" from viewing a prospect's contest on the "booster's" initiative, subject to the understanding that the "booster" may not contact the prospect. In addition, the "booster" is prohibited from contacting the prospect's coach, principal or counselor in an attempt to evaluate the prospect, as well as from visiting the prospect's educational institution to pick up film or transcripts pertaining to the evaluation of the prospect's academic or athletics ability.

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