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Nittany Lion Club

Endowed Scholarship Donors' Interactions with Penn State Student-Athletes

Endowment Donor Resource PDF

Thank you for your support of Penn State Athletics! Involvement in the endowed scholarship program sets forth a unique connection between you and the student-athlete beneficiary of the donation. To help ensure that this unique relationship unfolds within NCAA rules, the Athletics Compliance Office (ACO) has created this rules summary for your review. You are strongly encouraged to call the ACO with questions about NCAA rules at any time. The ACO staff can be reached at 814-863-8048 or via e-mail at compliance@athletics.psu.edu.

NCAA GUIDELINES FOR BOOSTER INTERACTION WITH STUDENT-ATHLETES

  • YOUR STATUS UNDER NCAA RULES - As a donor to Penn State Athletics, you are automatically considered a "representative of Penn State's athletics interests" or what is commonly called a booster. You retain that status for life and PSU has a high level of accountability for your actions.
  • YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE RECIPIENT OF YOUR ENDOWMENT - Social interaction between a donor and a currently enrolled student-athlete (and his / her family) is not restricted by NCAA rules. However, it is also important to be aware that NCAA rules do not change as a result of your unique relationship with the endowment recipient. In other words, there are no exceptions in the rules that allow an endowment donor to provide benefits or preferential treatment to the recipient of their scholarship. Note also that all rules applicable to your relationship with a student-athlete also extend to the student-athlete's family and friends.
  • THE HOST FAMILY CONCEPT - There was a time when NCAA rules permitted donors to an athletics program to serve as a "host family" to a student-athlete and provide a home away from home type atmosphere through provision of reasonable benefits to the student-athlete. Those rules have changed and the provision of even the slightest benefit can trigger a violation of NCAA rules that will subject the recipient to ineligibility for competition.
  • EXTRA BENEFIT CONCERNS - Below is a summary of the benefit and violation issues that arise most commonly out of a donor / student-athlete relationship.
  • EMPLOYMENT - A booster may not arrange employment for friends or relatives of a student-athlete.
  • MEALS - On infrequent, special occasions (e.g., a birthday, Thanksgiving, etc.), a student-athlete may accept an invitation from an athletic booster for a meal. The meal may only occur in the booster's home (within a 30 mile radius of the PSU campus) or on the Penn State campus. Prior approval from the student-athlete's coach must be granted. You may never provide a meal to a student-athlete or his / her family in a restaurant.
  • HOUSING & LODGING - A student-athlete cannot accept free or reduced cost room and/or board from any booster of its athletic programs. This would preclude a student-athlete from "house sitting" for you. It is also impermissible to permit parents, family or friends of a student-athlete to stay in your home at any time, regardless of circumstances.
  • TRANSPORTATION - Transportation may not be provided to the families or friends of a student-athlete. Examples of impermissible transportation include but are not limited to, providing transportation to members of a student-athlete's family to attend home or away competitions, allowing the use of a booster's vehicle, or providing transportation home for a student-athlete during a vacation period.
  • ACADEMICS - You may not be involved in a student-athlete's academics in any manner.
  • LOANS - A booster may not provide a student-athlete with a loan of money, a guarantee of bond, or serve as a co-signer in any loan arrangement for a student-athlete or his / her parents.
  • BIRTHDAY / HOLIDAY GIFTS - You are permitted to provide a greeting card to your endowment recipient on special occasions such as holidays and birthdays, but gifts are never permissible, regardless of value.
  • YOUR POST-ENROLLMENT RELATIONSHIP WITH A STUDENT-ATHLETE - Be aware that NCAA rules for benefits continue to apply subsequent to a student-athlete graduating or exhausting eligibility. Thus, it is not permissible to provide graduation gifts or other benefits justified by the student-athlete no longer being enrolled at PSU.
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