Guide to NCAA Rules for Fans, Friends
and Alumni of Abilene Christian University

Abilene Christian University, as a member of the Southland Conference and the National Collegiate Athletic Association, is responsible for ensuring that Southland and NCAA regulations are followed by our coaches, student-athletes, faculty and staff, donors, boosters, former students, fans and friends. Please use this guide as a reference to the NCAA rules as they apply to representatives of our athletics interests. All questions and situations cannot be answered in this brief brochure, so please do not hesitate to call the ACU Compliance Office if you have questions. We remind you that any inappropriate action by you can jeopardize the eligibility of either a prospective student-athlete or an enrolled student-athlete, and the integrity of ACU.

Questions Regarding Important NCAA Definitions

Who is a representative of athletics interests?

A “representative of the institution’s athletics interests” (booster) is an individual who donates money to the athletics program; anyone who has ever been a season ticket holder, fan, faculty or staff member or former student; anyone assisting in the recruitment of a prospect; and anyone involved in promoting the athletics program. Once you have been identified as an institutional representative of athletics interests, you retain that identity FOREVER.ONCE A BOOSTER, ALWAYS A BOOSTER.

Who is a prospective student-athlete?

A prospect is any student who has started the ninth grade (or for men’s basketball, the seventh grade).

In addition, a student who has not started ninth-grade classes becomes a prospective student-athlete if the institution provides the individual (or the individual’s relatives or friends) any financial assistance or other benefits that the institution does not generally provide to prospective students. Student-athletes enrolled in preparatory or two-year colleges also are considered prospective student-athletes. 

When does a prospect become an intercollegiate student-athlete?

A prospect becomes a student-athlete only when he/she attends their first day of class or reports for an intercollegiate squad that is under the jurisdiction of the athletics program, not after they sign the National Letter of Intent.

What is a contact and what does it mean?

A contact is any face-to-face encounter between a prospect or the prospect’s relatives and an institutional staff member or athletics representative in which any dialogue occurs in excess of an exchange of a greeting. Any face-to-face encounter that is prearranged or takes place on the grounds of the prospect’s high school or site of organized competition or practice involving the prospect’s high school, preparatory school, two-year college, or all-star team is considered a contact regardless of the conversation that occurs.

What is the definition of recruiting? 

Recruiting is any solicitation of a prospect or a prospect’s relatives (or legal guardians) by an institutional staff member or by a representative of the institution’s athletics interests for the purpose of securing the prospect’s enrollment and ultimate participation in the institution’s intercollegiate athletics programs.

Rules Regarding Prospective Student-Athletes


What can you do and not do?

  • You may attend high school or junior college sporting events you would normally attend, provided there is no contact with a prospective student-athlete.

  • You may send the Abilene Christian University coaching staff any newspaper clippings or other information about prospects you think would be of interest.

  • You may continue relationships with a prospect or his/her family as long as the relationship was established prior to the prospect’s freshman year of high school.

  • You may not become involved in making arrangements to provide money or financial aid of any kind to a prospect or the prospect’s family and friends.

  • You may not make contact with a prospective student-athlete and his/her parents when the prospect is on campus for an unofficial or official recruiting visit.

  • You may not contact a prospect to congratulate him/her on signing a National Letter of Intent with ACU.

  • You may not transport, pay or arrange payment of transportation costs for a prospect, and his/her relatives or friends to visit campus (or elsewhere).

  • You may not pay or arrange for payment of summer camp registration fees for a prospect.

  • You may not provide ANYTHING to a prospect, the prospect’s family or friends without prior approval from ACU’s Compliance Office.


Questions Regarding Enrolled Student-Athletes
 

Can I let a student-athlete borrow my car?

No, that would be an extra benefit. An extra benefit is defined as any special arrangement by an institutional employee or a representative of the institution’s athletics interests to provide a student-athlete or a student-athlete’s relatives or friends a benefit not expressly authorized by NCAA legislation. Receipt of a benefit by a student-athlete or their relatives or friends is not a violation of NCAA legislation if it is demonstrated that the same benefit is generally available to the institution’s students or their relatives or friends or to a particular segment of the student-body (e.g. international students) determined on a basis unrelated to athletics ability. Some extra benefits include, but are not limited to:

  • Cash
  • An employment arrangement for a prospect’s relatives
  • Gift of clothing or equipment
  • Co-signing of loans or posting bond
  • Any tangible items
  • Free or reduced-cost services, rentals or merchandise of any type
  • Free or reduced-cost housing
  • The use of a washer or dryer
  • Free summer storage
  • Promising employment after college graduation
  • Telephone card to make free long-distance calls
  • Meal at a restaurant or country club
Can I hire a student-athlete to work at my company or around my house?

Yes, but you must first contact the ACU Compliance Office. There are many NCAA regulations governing the employment of student-athletes, and documentation is required. Compensation received by a student-athlete must be solely based on the work actually performed and be at a rate equal to the going rate in that locality for similar services.

NCAA Rules Regarding Enrolled Student-Athletes

  • You may provide a student-athlete or a team – not their family and friends – an occasional meal (defined as once per month) in your home, but not in a restaurant. Again, documentation is necessary prior to the meal taking place.

  • You may, if you would like to, donate to Abilene Christian University to recognize a student-athlete’s participation in a special event.

  • You may not pay for or arrange payment of room, board or any type of transportation for a student-athlete.

  • You may not provide room, board or transportation costs for family or friends of an enrolled student-athlete to visit campus or attend a home or an away athletics contest.

    You may not use the name or picture or appearance of an enrolled student-athlete to  advertise, recommend or promote sales or use of a commercial product or service of any kind. Any use of a student-athlete’s name, picture or appearance must receive authorization from ACU’s Compliance Office.

  • You may not provide an honorarium to a student-athlete for a speaking engagement.  All speaking engagements must be approved in advance by ACU’s Compliance Office.

  • You may not allow a student-athlete, their relatives or friends to use your telephone or cell phone to make free calls.

  • You may not provide free or reduced-cost lodging in your home to a student-athlete or their family and friends.


NCAA Rules Regarding Gambling

The NCAA prohibits student-athletes or athletics program staff members from knowingly providing information to individuals involved in organized gambling activities concerning intercollegiate athletics competition. In addition, student-athletes or athletics program staff members may not solicit a bet on any intercollegiate team or accept a bet on any gambling activity involving intercollegiate and professional athletics through a bookmaker, parlay card, or any other method employed by organized gambling.

Promotional and Community Service Activities for Student-Athletes


All charitable, educational and nonprofit promotional activities involving student-athletes must have prior approval from the ACU Compliance Office. Student-athletes are not permitted to be involved in the advertisement, recommendation or promotion of sales, or use of a commercial product or service of any kind.

Final Reminders

  1. Please contact the ACU Compliance Office for NCAA rules interpretations. We love to hear from our representatives of athletics interests.

  2. Remember that in most cases, CONTACT WITH A PROSPECT IS PROHIBITED!

  3. Thank you for your support and interest in all of our athletics programs.

Visit ncaa.org for more information.

Mission Statement of ACU Compliance Office

The mission of the ACU Compliance Office is to serve student-athletes, coaches, staff and boosters, as well as uphold the integrity of the institution by:

  • Providing a comprehensive rules compliance education and monitoring program;

  • Effectively communicating our knowledge of NCAA, Southland Conference and institutional rules; and

  • Continuing to build upon our positive reputation by fostering existing relationships and creating greater public awareness of compliance.

ACU Athletics Philosophy Statement

Integrity – We expect all student-athletes, coaches and staff to conduct themselves in a manner that reflects positively on the university and is in adherence to all NCAA, Southland Conference and ACU rules and regulations.

Excellence – We expect all student-athletes, coaches and staff to strive to do their best in order to maximize academic, athletic, social and spiritual development within the framework of the NCAA Division I Philosophy.

Diversity – We will foster an environment of inclusion, where diversity and gender equity are integrated and recognized as a valued part of our pursuit of excellence.

Balance – We will operate and emphasize through our actions the importance of life balance and well-being as well as personal and professional development.

Engagement – We will seek to provide quality athletic events in which all students, faculty, staff and alumni can participate in and re-connect with the university.

Assistant Director of Athletics for Compliance
325-674-2323 • compliance@acu.edu