Compliance

Compliance Corner

 

C-USA Academic Risk Survey

Parking

Introduction
At the core of Conference USA's mission is to operate with integrity and promote excellence in academics and athletics. Thus, Conference USA and our member institutions place great importance on complying with all NCAA and Conference rules and regulations and adhering to all applicable federal and state laws. As a supporter of Conference USA and our member institutions, we strongly encourage you to perform due diligence in knowing the rules that pertain to you and the role that you play. Please contact our member institutions or our office if you have questions pertaining to these rules. It is always better to ASK before you ACT!

Back to top

NCAA Definitions
Prospective Student-Athlete - A prospective student-athlete ("prospect") is a student who has started classes for the ninth grade. In addition, a student who has not started classes for the ninth grade becomes a prospective student-athlete if the institution provides such an individual (or the individual's relatives or friends) any financial assistance or other benefits that the institution does not provide to prospective students generally.

Recruited Prospective Student-Athlete - Actions by staff members or athletics representatives that cause a prospective student-athlete to become a recruited prospective student-athlete at that institution are:

     a. Providing the prospect with an official visit;
     b. Having an arranged, in-person, off-campus encounter with the prospect or the prospect's parent(s), relatives or legal guardian(s); or
     c. Initiating or arranging a telephone contact with the prospect, the prospect's relatives or legal guardian(s) on more than one occasion for the purpose of recruitment.
     d. Issuing a National Letter of Intent or the institution's written offer of athletically related financial aid to the prospective student-athlete for an academic term/year.

Student-Athlete - A prospective student-athlete becomes a student-athlete when one of the following occurs:

     a. The individual officially registers and enrolls in a minimum full-time program of studies and attends classes in any term of a four-year collegiate institution's regular academic year (excluding summer);
     b. The individual participates in a regular squad practice or competition at a four-year collegiate institution that occurs before the beginning of any term; or
     c. The individual officially registers and enrolls and attends classes during the summer prior to initial enrollment and receives institutional athletics aid.

Enrolled Student-Athlete - An enrolled student-athlete is an individual whose enrollment was solicited by a member of the athletics staff or other representative of athletics interests with a view toward the student's ultimate participation in the intercollegiate athletics program. Any other student becomes a student-athlete only when the student reports for an intercollegiate squad that is under the jurisdiction of the athletics department.

Recruiting - Recruiting is any solicitation of a prospect or a prospect's relatives [or legal guardian(s)] 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 program.

Recruiting Calendars - Recruiting calendars specify the dates for the applicable recruiting periods in the applicable sports. The Management Council shall have the authority to establish such calendars in the Administrative Regulations (per Constitution 5.2.3.1).

Recruiting Period - There are four recruiting periods and at least one of them is in effect at all times. The recruiting periods vary during each sport's recruiting calendar. The recruiting periods are listed below: contact, evaluation, quiet and dead period.

Contact Period - A contact period is that period of time when it is permissible for authorized athletics department staff members to make in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts and evaluations.

Evaluation Period - An evaluation period is that period of time when it is permissible for authorized athletics department staff members to be involved in off-campus activities designed to assess the academic qualifications and playing ability of prospective student-athletes. No in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts shall be made with the prospective student-athlete during an evaluation period.

Quiet Period - A quiet period is that period of time when it is permissible to make in-person recruiting contacts only on the member institution's campus. No in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts or evaluations may be made during the quiet period.

Dead Period - A dead period is that period of time when it is not permissible to make in-person recruiting contacts or evaluations on or off the member institution's campus or to permit official or unofficial visits by prospective student-athletes to the institution's campus. The provision of complimentary admissions to a prospective student-athlete during a dead period is prohibited, except as provided in Bylaw 13.7.2.5 for a prospective student-athlete who visits an institution as part of a group. During such a dead period, a coaching staff member may not serve as a speaker at or attend a meeting or banquet at which prospective student-athletes are in attendance, except as provided in Bylaw 13.1.9.1, and may not visit the prospective student-athlete's educational institutions. It remains permissible, however, for an institutional staff member to write or telephone prospective student-athletes during such a dead period.

Contact - A contact is any face-to-face encounter between a prospect or the prospect's parents, relatives or legal guardian(s) and an institutional staff member or athletics representative during which any dialogue occurs in excess of an exchange of a greeting. Any such face-to-face encounter that is prearranged (e.g., positions himself/herself in a location where contact is possible) or that takes place on the grounds of the prospect's educational institution or at the site of organized competition or practice involving the prospect or the prospect's high school, preparatory school, two-year college or all-star team shall be considered a contact, regardless of whether any conversation occurs. However, an institutional staff member or athletics representative who is approached by a prospective student-athlete or the prospective student-athlete's parents, relatives or legal guardian(s) at any location shall not use a contact, provided the encounter was not prearranged and the staff member or athletics representative does not engage in any dialogue in excess of a greeting and takes appropriate steps to immediately terminate the encounter.

Evaluation - Evaluation is any off-campus activity designed to assess the academic qualifications or athletics ability of a prospect, including any visit to a prospect's educational institution (during which no contact occurs) or the observation of a prospect participating in any practice or competition at any site.

Official visit - Any visit for athletic purposes to a college/university campus by a prospective student-athlete whereas expenses are paid by the college. Some of the expenses that institutions may cover include: transportation, meals, lodging, and reasonable entertainment expenses, including three complimentary admissions to a home athletics event.

Before a college may invite a prospect on an official visit, the prospect must provide the college with a copy of your high school transcript and PSAT, SAT, ACT or PLAN score and register with the NCAA Eligibility Center (formerly known as the NCAA Clearinghouse).

Unofficial Visit - Any visit for athletic purposes to a college/university campus by a prospective student-athlete at their own expense. The institution may not pay any expenses or provide any entertainment except a maximum of three complimentary admissions to a home athletics event.

Offer/Inducement - An institution's staff member or any representative of its athletics interests shall not be involved, directly or indirectly, in making arrangements for or giving or offering to give any financial aid or other benefits to the prospect or the prospect's relatives or friends a benefit not expressly authorized by NCAA legislation. Specific examples of offers/inducements that are prohibited include but are not limited to:

     a. An employment arrangement for a prospect's relatives;
     b. Gift of clothing or equipment;
     c. Cosigning of loans;
     d. Providing loans to a prospect's relatives or friends;
     e. Cash or like items;
     f. Any tangible items, including merchandise;
     g. Free or reduced-cost services, rentals or purchases of any type;
     h. Free or reduced-cost housing;
     i. Use of an institution's athletics equipment (e.g., for a high school all-star game); and
     j. Sponsorship of or arrangement for an awards banquet for high school, preparatory school or two-year-college athletes by an institution, representatives of its athletics interests or its alumni groups or booster clubs.

Extra Benefit - An extra benefit is any special arrangement by an institutional employee or a representative of the institution's athletics interests to provide a student-athlete or the student-athlete's relative or friends a benefit not expressly authorized by NCAA legislation. Receipt of a benefit by student-athletes 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., foreign students, minority students) determined on a basis unrelated to athletics ability. Specific examples of offers/inducements that are prohibited include but are not limited to:      a. An employment arrangement for a student-athlete's friends or relatives;
     b. Gifts of any kind (e.g., birthday, graduation, Christmas, etc);
     c. Signing or co-signing of loans for student-athletes;
     d. Providing loans to a student-athlete's relatives or friends;
     e. Cash or like items;
     f. Any tangible items, including merchandise;
     g. Free or reduced-cost services, rentals or purchases of any type;
     h. Free or reduced-cost housing;
     i. Use of an automobile or the provision of transportation;
     j. Providing a meal other than in your home on special infrequent occasions (e.g., Thanksgiving, birthday); and
     k. Providing tickets to an athletic, institutional or community event (e.g., movie, professional contest).
Representatives of Athletics Interests (Boosters) - An individual, independent agency, corporate entity, or any organization who is known (or who should have been known), by a member institution's executive or athletics administration to:

  • Have participated in or to be a member of an agency or organization promoting the institution's intercollegiate athletics program;
  • Have made financial contributions to the athletics department or to an athletics booster organization of that institution;
  • Be assisting or to have been requested (by the athletics department staff) to assist in the recruitment of prospects;
  • Be assisting or to have assisted in providing benefits to enrolled student-athletes or their families; or
  • Have been involved otherwise in promoting the institution's athletics program.
  • Once an individual is identified as such a representative, the person retains that identity indefinitely.

Back to top

NCAA Recruiting Information
NCAA Recruiting Chart

Back to top

NCAA Forms
All NCAA Compliance forms can be found by logging on to the NCAA website. Sample forms that can be found include:
Division I Compliance Forms
Initial Eligibility Waiver Application
Progress Toward Degree Waiver Application
Student-Athlete Reinstatement Forms/Applications
Subcommittee for Legislative Relief (SLR) Waiver Application
Level I Secondary Violations
Level II Secondary Violations (with prescribed penalties)

Back to top

National Letter of Intent (NLI)
The National Letter of Intent (NLI) is a binding agreement between a prospective student-athlete and an institution in which the institution agrees to provide a prospective student-athlete, who is admitted to the institution and is eligible for financial aid under NCAA rules, athletics aid for one academic year in exchange for the prospect's agreement to attend the institution and participate in athletics for one academic year. All colleges and universities that participate in the NLI program agree to cease recruitment of a prospective student-athlete once he/she signs an NLI with another college or university. The NLI must be accompanied by an institutional financial aid agreement and is valid even if the current coach leaves the university. Prospective students should be mindful that they are signing an NLI with the institution, not to play for a specific coach. If the student-athlete does not enroll at that institution for a full academic year, he/she may be subject to specific penalties, including loss of a season of eligibility and a mandatory residence requirement. Please note that the NLI program is administered through the NCAA Eligibility Center but oversight and policies are controlled by the Collegiate Commissioners Association. Additional information can be obtained through the NLI Program web page at http://www.national-letter.org or questions can be directed to the NLI Office at (317) 223-0706.

NLI Signing Dates

Back to top

Student-Athlete Opportunity Fund (SAOF)
The Student-Athlete Opportunity Fund is intended to provide direct benefits to student-athletes or their families as determined by conference offices. As a guiding principle, the fund shall be used to assist student-athletes in meeting financial needs that arise in conjunction with participation in intercollegiate athletics, enrollment in an academic curriculum or that recognize academic achievement. Accordingly, receipt of Student-Athlete Opportunity Fund monies shall not be included in determining the permissible amount of financial aid that a member institution may award to a student-athlete. Further, inasmuch as the fund is designed to provide direct benefits to student-athletes, the fund is not intended to replace existing budget items.

All student-athletes, including international, are eligible to receive SAOF benefits, regardless of whether they are grant-in-aid recipients, have demonstrated need or have either exhausted eligibility or no longer participate due to medical reasons. Additionally, student-athletes receiving monies from the Special Assistance Fund may also receive SAOF benefits. Member institutions and conferences specifically shall not use monies received from the fund for the following:

     a. Salaries and benefits;
     b. Grants-in-aid (other than summer school) for student-athletes with remaining eligibility;
     c. Capital improvements;
     d. Stipends; and
     e. Athletic development opportunities.

Back to top

Special Assistance Fund (SAF)
The Special Assistance Fund is intended to provide direct benefits to student-athletes who have demonstrated a financial need as determined by conference offices. The guiding principles of the fund are to meet the student-athletes' needs of an emergency or essential nature for which financial assistance otherwise is not available. The following student-athletes are eligible to apply for funds:

     a. Pell-eligible student-athletes (except nonqualifiers in their initial year of residence), including student-athletes who have exhausted their athletics eligibility or no longer are able to participate because of medical reasons.
     b. Student-athletes who are receiving countable athletically related financial aid and who have demonstrated financial need as determined by an analysis conducted consistent with federal methodology or the methodology used for all students at the institution.
     c. For a foreign student-athlete, an official foreign student-athlete advisory entity of the institution outside the athletics department must certify in writing that the student-athlete has financial need.

Member institutions and conferences specifically shall not use monies received from the fund for the following:

     a. Financing any portion of an institutional grant-in-aid that could have been awarded to the student-athlete;
     b. Entertainment expenses for student-athletes;
     c. Purchase of disability, illness or injury insurance to protect against the loss of potential future professional sports earnings;
     d. For administrative purposes (conferences may not charge an administrative fee nor may salary or staff expenses for administration of the funds be paid from these moneys).

Back to top

Conference USA Reminders
Intraconference Transfer Rule
Conference USA Speakers Grant
Conference USA Speakers Grant Guidelines

Back to top

More Headlines

Shop Now at the Official Online Store