Fans and Boosters
VCU’s responsibility to follow the rules of the NCAA and A-10 Conference is not limited to its administrative staff, coaches, and student-athlete. That responsibility extends to all VCU athletics stakeholders, including its fans, donors, season ticket holders, and other athletic representatives. NCAA legislation places specific restrictions on the activities in which such stakeholders (called “representative of athletics interests” or more commonly, “boosters”) can engage on behalf of or for the benefit of VCU. The legislation also holds VCU and our student-athletes responsible for their actions. For these reasons, VCU Athletics ask for your support to help protect our interests and the eligibility of our student-athletes.
Who is a Booster?
A booster is any individual or entity who has participated in (or has been a member of) an agency or organization promoting VCU Athletics; made financial contributions to VCU Athletics or to a VCU Athletics booster organizations; or been involved in promoting VCU Athletics. Once an individual or entity becomes a booster, that individual or entity remains a booster indefinitely.
Common examples of VCU boosters include:
- VCU students;
- VCU employees;
- VCU alumni;
- VCU donors; and
- VCU ticket holders.
The NCAA defines an extra benefit as any special arrangement by an institutional staff member or representative of athletics interest to provide a student-athlete or the student-athlete’s friends or relatives with a benefit not available to the VCU student body or otherwise expressly authorized by the NCAA. A representative of athletics interests may not provide extra benefits to student-athletes unless such benefits are generally available to all VCU students and their relatives or friends.
Specifically, items that the NCAA considers to be extra benefits include, but are not limited to:
- A special discount, payment arrangement or credit on any purchase or service;
- Gifts of cash, clothing or any other item with value;
- Loan of money or co-signing of a loan;
- An automobile, or use of an automobile or transportation expenses;
- Free or reduced-cost services, purchases or rentals;
- Employment or loan arrangements for a prospective or current student-athlete’s friends or relatives;
- Free or reduced-cost rent or housing;
- Payment to a student-athlete for a speaking engagement; or
- Entertainment on-or-off campus.
A representative of an institution’s athletics interests is prohibited from making telephonic communications with a prospective student-athlete or the prospective student-athlete’s relatives or legal guardians. However, an athletics representative of a member institution may speak to a prospective student-athlete via the telephone only if the prospective student-athlete initiates the telephone conversation and the call is not for recruiting purposes. Under such circumstances, the representative must refer questions about the institution’s athletics program to the athletics department staff.
A current student-athlete at VCU may earn money from legitimate employment during the academic year. Earnings from a student-athlete’s on-or-off campus employment is exempt and is not counted in determining a student-athlete’s cost of attendance or in the institution’s financial aid limitations, provided:
- The student-athlete’s compensation does not include any remuneration for value or utility that the student-athlete may have for the employer because of the publicity, reputation, fame or personal following that he or she has obtained because of athletics ability;
- The student-athlete is compensated only for work actually performed; and
- The student-athlete is compensated at a rate commensurate with the going rate in that locality for similar services.
Fee for Lessons
A student-athlete may receive money from you or your family for teaching or giving lessons in his or her sport. To do this the following conditions must be met:
- Institutional facilities cannot be used;
- To simply “play” against the student-athlete is not permitted (e.g., playing lessons);
- Documentation and prior approval of the lessons must be on file with the VCU Athletics Compliance Office;
- Compensation for the lesson must be paid by the lesson recipient (or their family), the payment cannot come from another individual or entity.
Per institutional policy, a student-athlete must complete an Employment Form and return it to the VCU Athletics Compliance Office for approval prior to partaking in any employment or fee for lessons ventures.
Endorsement of Product(s)
A student-athlete may not be employed to sell equipment related to the student-athlete’s sport if his or her name, picture or athletics reputation is used to advertise or promote the product, the job or the employer. If the student-athlete’s name, picture or athletics reputation is not used for advertising or promotion, the student-athlete may be employed in a legitimate sales position, provided he or she is reimbursed at an hourly rate or set salary in the same manner as any non-athlete salesperson.
A student-athlete or the entire team in a sport may receive an occasional meal from a representative of athletics interests (donor) on infrequent and special occasions under the following conditions:
- The meal may only be provided in an individual’s home, on campus or at a facility that is regularly used for home competition and may be catered; and
- A representative of the institution’s athletics interests may provide reasonable local transportation to student-athletes to attend the meal function only if the meal function is at the home of that representative.
You may provide the meal to a student-athlete or an entire team at your home, on-campus or at a regularly-used home athletics facility, but you can only provide reasonable local transportation for student-athletes to attend the event if it is being held at your home.
Per institutional policy, boosters must complete and return an occasional meal form to the VCU Athletics Compliance Office for approval prior to the occasional meal taking place.
Ask Before You Act! VCU is responsible for the actions of its boosters. When a violation occurs regardless of intention, it may jeopardize the eligibility of our current student-athletes and result in the student-athlete and the athletics program incurring penalties by the NCAA and A-10 Conference.