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NCAA Rules and You

Are you a prospective student-athlete? 

A wealth of information is available regarding initial-eligibility requirements and amateurism by visiting the NCAA Eligibility Center at Registration is also available on the site. 

Are you a junior college transfer?

While junior college transfers are not required to obtain an initial-eligibility decision in order to participate in athletics, an amateurism decision is required.  Information regarding registration and amateurism is available at     

Information that all alumni, fans and friends of Tusculum University must know.

Who is considered a representative of Tusculum’s athletics interests? 

According to NCAA regulations: 

A “representative of athletics interests” (“booster”) is an individual who is known (or should have been known) by a member of the institution’s executive or athletics administration to:  

  1. Have participated in or to be a member of any agency or organization, including corporate entities (e.g., apparel and equipment companies), promoting the institution’s intercollegiate athletics program;
  2. Have made financial contributions to the athletics department or to an athletics booster organization of that institution;
  3. Be assisting or to have been requested (by athletics department staff) to assist in the recruitment of prospects;
  4. Be assisting or to have assisted in providing benefits to enrolled student-athletes or their families; or
  5. Have been involved otherwise in promoting the institution’s athletics program.

Note: Once an individual is identified as such a representative, the person retains that identity indefinitely. 


Who is considered a prospective student-athlete? 

The NCAA defines a prospective student-athlete (“prospect”) as any 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.  An individual remains a prospective student-athlete until one of the following occurs (whichever occurs earlier):

  1. 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 term (excluding summer); or
  2. The individual participates in a regular-squad practice or competition at a four-year collegiate institution. 

When is a prospect being recruited?

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

  1. Providing the prospect with an official visit;
  2. Having an arranged, in-person, off-campus encounter with the prospect or the prospect’s parent(s), relatives, or legal guardian(s); or
  3. 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.

Representatives of an institution’s athletics interests are prohibited from making in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts or telephone calls with a prospect or the prospect’s relatives or legal guardians.  On-campus contact is permitted, as are written communications.  Recruiting contacts by representatives during a prospect’s official visit are confined to campus.  General exceptions:  1) Contacts made with the prospect by an established family friend or neighbor, it being understood that such contacts are not made for recruiting purposes and are not initiated by a member of an institution’s coaching staff; and  2) An unavoidable incidental contact made with the prospect by representatives of the institution’s athletics interests, provided the contact is not prearranged by the representative or an athletics department staff member, does not take place on the grounds of the prospect’s educational institution or at the sites of organized competition and practice involving the prospect or the prospect’s team, is not made for the purpose of recruitment of the prospect, and involves only normal civility. 

Other restrictions are:

An athletics representative may view a prospect’s athletics contest on his/her own initiative, subject to the understanding that the athletics representative may not contact the prospect on such occasions.  An athletics representative may not contact a prospect’s coach, principal or counselor in an attempt to evaluate the prospect.  An athletics representative may not visit a prospect’s educational institution to pick-up film/videotape or transcripts pertaining to the evaluation of the prospect’s academic eligibility of athletics ability.

Please feel free to identify outstanding student-athletes that our coaches would be interested in.  Do this by sending newspaper clippings, calling or emailing our coaches—they’ll take it from there. 

What is an extra benefit? 

As a general rule, the student-athlete shall not receive any 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 friend a benefit not expressly authorized by NCAA legislation.

Permissible benefits include, but are not limited to:

  1. Loan from established family member.  A student-athlete may receive a loan from an established family friend without such arrangement constituting an extra benefit, provided: 
  1. the loan is not offered to the student-athlete based on any degree on his/her athletics ability or reputation;
  2. the individual providing the loan is NOT considered a representative of the institution’s athletics interests; and
  3. the relationship between the individual providing the loan and the student-athlete existed before the initiation of the student-athlete’s recruitment by the member institution.
  1. Occasional meals.  A student-athlete or the entire team in a sport may receive an occasional family home meal from an institutional staff member or representative of athletics interests as long as the meal is provided in an individual’s home and the meal is restricted to infrequent and special occasions. 

Nonpermissible benefits include, but are not limited to:

  1. Professional Sports Tickets.  An institution or any representative of its athletics interests may not purchase or otherwise obtain tickets to a professional sports contest and make these tickets available to student-athletes enrolled in an NCAA member institution. 
  2. Expenses for Visits by Friends and Relatives.  An institution or any of its athletics representatives may not provide payment of any expenses (e.g., room, board, transportation) for friends or relatives to visit the student-athlete at the institution where he or she is enrolled. 
  3. Discounts and Credits.  A student-athlete may not receive a special discount, payment arrangement or credit on a purchase or a service from an institutional staff member or a representative of athletics interests.

Other prohibited benefits include, but are not limited to:

  1. a loan of money;
  2. a guarantee of bond;
  3. the use of an automobile; or
  4. signing or cosigning a note with an outside agency to arrange a loan.

Any provision of an EXTRA BENEFIT to a prospective or currently enrolled student-athlete by an institutional staff member or athletics representative jeopardizes the athletics eligibility of that student-athlete.  We urge you not to provide a prospective or enrolled student-athlete with any benefit without contacting the Office of Compliance to determine the permissibility of your actions.  

NOTE:  This rule is easily remembered by asking yourself if this is something you would do for all students who attend Tusculum University.  If the answer is “no”, then you have your answer. 

Tusculum University appreciates the support of our alumni and friends.  However, we ask that you also help keep the College’s tradition of athletic integrity intact by following NCAA regulations.  Your assistance will ensure that the eligibility of both prospective student-athletes and currently enrolled student-athletes is protected.     

If you have any questions regarding the application of NCAA rules, please contact Deborah Davis, Associate Director of Athletics, at 423-636-7323 or by e-mail at  The NCAA may be reached at 317/917-6222 or by accessing the web at






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