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Issues Related to Benefits from Former Teammates and Agents

April 2, 2012

The NCAA recently issued the educational reminder below regarding the receipt of benefits by current student-athletes in conjunction with draft weekend celebrations and events. Be sure to share this information with your current and any former student-athletes as there are some good take home points.

Key Points to Consider:

1) Student-athletes (SA) must pay for the benefits or services he or she receives.

2) This applies to All Sports…not just football student-athletes.

3) Benefits received by a student-athlete from a friend/former teammate could still result in an impermissible benefit violation – each situation must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Is the type of benefit provided consistent with what was provided when the former SA and the current SA were college teammates?  

  • If the answer is “no” then you probably have a violation.
  • If the answer is “yes” then you could be in the clear, but still check with compliance first.

4) Ask Before You Act – don’t guess on whether (or not) a benefit or service is a violation…check with compliance before accepting such benefits or making plans to attend such festivities.

Note: These lessons apply to any situation (e.g., NBA Draft events, other parties or events, etc) involving benefits or services provided to current student-athletes.

Please read the Educational Column below and contact your friendly neighborhood compliance professional with any questions.

Issues Related to Benefits from Former Teammates and Agents in Conjunction with Professional Drafts (I)

Educational Column from March 29, 2012

NCAA institutions should note that, each year, parties or other events occur across the country in conjunction with the annual drafts for professional sports leagues. These parties and other events are hosted and/or attended by agents, third parties, professional athletes, and draft prospects. A current student-athlete’s attendance at such parties or events may result in violations of NCAA legislation if the student-athlete does not pay for the benefits or services he or she receives.

Travel expenses, lodging, meals and other expenses (e.g., entertainment) provided to a current student-athlete at no charge and financed by individuals meeting the definition of an agent per NCAA Bylaw 12.02.1 (agent) would result in a violation of the benefits from prospective agents legislation. The NCAA enforcement staff is aware of previous draft day parties and events where draft prospects invited friends and former teammates, some of whom were then-current student-athletes, to attend such events. Unbeknownst to the student-athlete, the expenses received (e.g., entertainment, lodging, meals) were financed by individuals meeting the definition of an agent per Bylaw 12.02.1 (agent). Receipt of such expenses constitutes an impermissible benefit from an agent and jeopardizes the student-athlete’s NCAA eligibility.

Even if all of the benefits received by a student-athlete associated with attendance at a draft day party or other events came directly from a friend and former teammate, there may still be a violation involving impermissible preferential treatment. The issue of a current student-athlete receiving benefits from a former student-athlete was reviewed by the former NCAA Division I Academics/Eligibility/Compliance Cabinet Subcommittee on Legislative Review/Interpretations in 2001. At that time, the subcommittee advised the staff that the standard for reviewing cases involving benefits provided to a current student-athlete from a former teammate should be whether the type of benefit provided is consistent with what was provided when the donor and recipient of the benefit were college teammates. This analysis continues to be used when determining whether a student-athlete received impermissible benefits from a former teammate.

[References: NCAA Division I Bylaws 12.02.1 (agent), 12.3.1 (general rule), 12.3.1.2 (benefits from prospective agents) and 12.1.2.1.6 (preferential treatment, benefits or services)]

Notice about Educational Columns: Educational columns and hot topics are intended to assist the membership with the correct application of legislation and/or interpretations by providing clarifications, reminders and examples. They are based on legislation and official and staff interpretations applicable at the time of publication. Therefore, educational columns and hot topics are binding to the extent that the legislation and interpretations on which they are based remain applicable. Educational columns are posted on a regular basis to address a variety of issues and hot topics are posted as necessary in order to address timely issues.
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