Nittany Lion Club
Endowed Scholarship Donors' Interactions with Penn State Student-Athletes
Endowment Donor Resource
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 - PSU Intercollegiate Athletics annually arranges an opportunity for endowment donors and student-athletes to share a meal and get to know each other through the Endowed Scholarship Dinner event. Outside of this event, donors are prohibited from providing meals to student-athletes in any setting, be it their own home, a restaurant or tailgate party. If either the donor or a student-athlete cannot attend the Endowment Dinner due to other commitments, the involved student-athlete may request approval for alternate meal arrangements from the Athletics Compliance Office.
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.