A Letter to All Penn State Hockey Alums, Fans, and Booster Club Members:
July 12, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While it is an exciting time to be associated with the ice hockey programs at Penn State, it is also a time to be attentive to how NCAA rules apply to this new landscape. As most of you know, the NCAA rules applicable to a varsity program are far reaching and include institutional responsibility for the actions of fans, former student-athletes and donors. Some people may not realize that NCAA recruiting rules began to apply to Penn State on the day we publicly declared intent to form varsity hockey programs. Thus, it is very important that everyone is aware of the following:
Only members of the Penn State coaching staff are permitted to call or write to prospective student-athletes, their parents or their coaches. Prospective student-athletes are defined as anyone who has entered 9th grade, regardless of recruitment status by Penn State.
Only members of the Penn State coaching staff are permitted to have any in-person contact with prospective student-athletes, their parents or their coaches.
Boosters and fans of the Penn State programs are permitted to attend hockey games involving prospects at their own discretion. In addition, they are welcome to share any relevant information with the coaching staff. However, they are not permitted to present themselves as Penn State recruiters and they may not attend a specific contest or activity at the request of the coaching staff.
Boosters and fans of the PSU programs are not permitted to provide any benefits or special arrangements to a prospective student-athlete or his / her family and friends.
Boosters and fans of the PSU programs may not visit a prospect's high school or educational institution to perform an evaluation of a prospect's academic qualifications.
NCAA rules provide exceptions to some of the contact restrictions, but these exceptions do not mean that it is OK for program supporters to recruit on behalf of PSU. For example, if a booster club member has known a prospect's family since the prospect was in elementary school and they have always gone on family vacations together, this activity could permissibly continue. However, in this scenario, recruitment on behalf of PSU is prohibited and any matters involving PSU hockey must be referred to the coaching staff. Relationships that originated prior to the prospects enrollment in 9th grade and outside of athletics circles are considered safe in this analysis. Of course, the NCAA rules do not restrict interactions within a legitimate family environment (grandparents may speak to their grandchildren about Penn State at their discretion).
Please call the Penn State Athletics Compliance Office (ACO) at 814-863-8048 if you have questions about the application of NCAA rules. The ACO staff is happy to field calls from PSU supporters and dedicated to ensuring Penn State's tradition of integrity in athletics continues indefinitely. We know that part of the transition into the new era may include modifying behaviors from years gone by that were helpful in a club environment, but may be harmful in a varsity environment. The best thing to do when in doubt is to call and ask before you act.