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In an effort to maintain a level playing field, the NCAA requires all student-athletes to be amateurs. All incoming freshman and transfer students will be required to answer a series of questions about their athletics participation prior to enrolling in college. These questions will cover the following areas: contracts with professional teams; salary for athletics participation; receipt of prize money; playing with professionals; tryouts, practice, or competition with a professional team; receipt of benefits from an agent; and agreements to be represented by agent. When you register with the NCAA Eligibility Center at the beginning of your sophomore year, you will be able to answer these amateurism questions in order to receive a preliminary amateurism certification. You will need to request a final amateurism certification in the months prior to your initial enrollment in college. If you are enrolling in the fall semester, you can request your final amateurism certification beginning in April. If you are enrolling in the spring semester, you can request your final amateurism certification beginning in October.
Only an amateur student-athlete is eligible for intercollegiate athletics participation in a particular sport. It is imperative that you understand how interaction with agents and boosters, participation with a professional team or local sports club, and receipt of extra benefits can impact your amateurism.
NCAA FAQ Sheet-Amateurism Certification Process
As a prospective student-athlete, you will be ineligible for participation in intercollegiate athletics if you ever agree (orally or in writing) to be represented by an agent for the purpose of marketing your athletics ability or reputation in your sport. An individual shall be ineligible per if he or she enters into a verbal or written agreement with an agent for representation in future professional sports negotiations that are to take place after the individual has completed his or her eligibility in that sport.
An agent is any individual who, directly or indirectly:
(a) Represents or attempts to represent an individual for the purpose of marketing his or her athletics ability or reputation for financial gain; or
(b) Seeks to obtain any type of financial gain or benefit from securing a prospective student-athlete's enrollment at an educational institution or from a student-athlete's potential earnings as a professional athlete.
An agent may include, but is not limited to, a certified contract advisor, financial advisor, marketing representative, brand manager or anyone who is employed or associated with such persons.
It is important that you avoid any and all contact with agents prior to and during the entirety of your collegiate enrollment. North Texas will set up an "Agent Day" in which graduating seniors have access to agents in a controlled environment to ensure that no NCAA violations occur. Any interaction you have with an agents outside of this pre-arranged "Agent Day" could negatively affect your amateurism. Whenever you are in doubt about whether or not someone is an agent, ask your Coach or the Compliance Office before you have any interaction with this person. Something as simple as talking to or accepting a meal from an agent can negatively impact your amateurism and affect your collegiate eligibility.
Much like an agent, a representative of athletics interest, or booster, is often in a position to provide a student-athlete with a benefit that may not be allowed by the NCAA. How do you identify a booster?
A "representative of the institution's athletics interests" is an individual, independent agency, corporate entity (e.g., apparel or equipment manufacturer) or other organization who is known (or who should have been known) by a member of the institution's executive or athletics administration to:
(a) Have participated in or to be a member of an agency or organization promoting the institution's intercollegiate athletics program;
(b) Have made financial contributions to the athletics department or to an athletics booster organization of that institution;
(c) Be assisting or to have been requested (by the athletics department staff) to assist in the recruitment of prospective student-athletes;
(d) Be assisting or to have assisted in providing benefits to enrolled student-athletes or their families; or
(e) Have been involved otherwise in promoting the institution's athletics program.
Once an individual is identified as a booster, he or she retains that status for life. Once a booster, always a booster.
A booster may not provide any extra benefits to a recruit or a student-athlete at any time.
Professional Athletics Team/Professional Draft
Participating in outside events with professional teams or entering a professional draft may also negatively impact your amateurism. While it is an honor to be chosen to compete professionally, it is your responsibility to understand the rules about playing on a professional athletics team. Before you accept any offer or invitation to compete with or against, you must get approval from your Coach and the Compliance Office.
You MAY participate singly or as a member of an amateur team against professional athletes or professional teams. You MAY NOT compete on a professional team.
You MAY compete on a tennis, golf, two-person sand volleyball or two-person synchronized diving team with persons who are competing for cash or a comparable prize, provided you do not receive payment or prize money that exceeds your actual and necessary expenses, which may only be provided by the sponsor of the event.
In sports other than men's ice hockey and skiing, before initial full-time collegiate enrollment, you MAY compete on a professional team, provided you do not receive more than actual and necessary expenses to participate on the team.
You MAY participate with a professional on a team, provided the professional is not being paid by a professional team or league to play as a member of that team (e.g., summer basketball leagues with teams composed of both professional and amateur athletes).
Participation on a team that includes a professional coach or referee DOES NOT cause the team to be classified as a professional team.
You MAY participate on an Olympic or national team that is competing for prize money or is being compensated by the governing body to participate in a specific event, provided you do not accept prize money or any other compensation (other than actual and necessary expenses). You MAY NOT participate in a professional (players to be paid) all-star game.
You MAY inquire of a professional sports organization about eligibility for a professional-league player draft or request information about your market value without affecting your amateur status.
You MAY NOT ask to be placed on a professional draft list. After initial full-time collegiate enrollment, an individual loses amateur status in a particular sport when the individual asks to be placed on the draft list or supplemental draft list of a professional league in that sport, even though: (a) The individual asks that his or her name be withdrawn from the draft list prior to the actual draft; (b) The individual's name remains on the list but he or she is not drafted; or (c) The individual is drafted but does not sign an agreement with any professional athletics team.
In men's basketball, an enrolled student-athlete, not a prospect, MAY enter a professional league's draft one time during your collegiate career without jeopardizing eligibility in that sport, provided:
(a) You request that your name be removed from the draft list and declares his intent to resume intercollegiate participation not later than the end of the day before the first day of the spring National Letter of Intent signing period for the applicable year;
(b) Your declaration of intent is submitted in writing to the institution's director of athletics; and
(c) You are not drafted.
In women's basketball, an enrolled student-athlete, not a prospect, MAY enter a professional league's draft one time during your collegiate career without jeopardizing eligibility in that sport, provided you are not drafted by any team in that league and you declare your intention to resume intercollegiate participation within 30 days after the draft. Your declaration of intent shall be in writing to the institution's director of athletics.
In football, an enrolled student-athlete, not a prospect, MAY enter the National Football League draft one time during your collegiate career without jeopardizing eligibility in that sport, provided you are not drafted by any team in that league and you declare your intention to resume intercollegiate participation within 72 hours following the National Football League draft declaration date. Your declaration of intent shall be in writing to the institution's director of athletics.
In a sport other than basketball or football, you MAY enter a professional league's draft one time during your collegiate career without jeopardizing your eligibility in the applicable sport, provided you are not drafted and within 72 hours following the draft you declare your intention to resume participation in intercollegiate athletics. Your declaration of intent shall be in writing to the institution's director of athletics.
You MAY request information about professional market value without affecting your amateur status. Further, you, your parents or legal guardians or the institution's professional sports counseling panel may enter into negotiations with a professional sports organization without the loss of your amateur status. However, if you retain an agent, you will lose amateur status.
You MAY NOT enter into any kind of agreement to compete in professional athletics, either orally or in writing, regardless of the legal enforceability of that agreement. You will be ineligible even if you sign a contract or commitment that does not become binding until the professional organization's representative or agent also signs the document. Even if the contract remains unsigned by the other parties until after the student-athlete's eligibility is exhausted, you will be ineligible simply for negotiating such an agreement.
Local Sports Clubs
As a prospective student-athlete, you may participate in a local sports club coached by a college coach provided the sports club is within a 50-mile radius of the institution where the coach works and you are a legal resident of the area. The 50-mile radius restriction shall not apply to a prospective student-athlete who resides outside a 50-mile radius of the institution, provided the institution documents that the local sports club is the closest opportunity for the prospective student-athlete to participate in the sport.
As a prospective student-athlete, you may participate in an institution's sports camp or clinic, either on campus or at a site off-campus. An institution's sports camp or clinic shall be one that:
(a) Places special emphasis on a particular sport or sports and provides specialized instruction or practice and may include competition;
(b) Involves activities designed to improve overall skills and general knowledge in the sport; or
(c) Offers a diversified experience without emphasis on instruction, practice or competition in any particular sport.
You MAY NOT be employed to work at an institutional camp or clinic prior to committing to an institution by signing a National Letter of Intent or the institution's written offer of admission and/or financial aid or the institution receiving a financial deposit in response to its offer of admission. Once you have committed to an institution by one of the methods above, you may be employed to work at an institutional camp or clinic.
It is important for you to understand what kind of benefits you may receive while enrolled in college and which benefits are considered "extra benefits" and may jeopardize your eligibility.
An extra benefit is any special arrangement by an institutional employee or representative of the institution's athletics interests to provide a student-athlete or the student-athlete family member or friend a benefit not expressly authorized by NCAA legislation. Receipt of a benefit by student-athletes or their family members or friends is not a violation of NCAA legislation if it is demonstrated that the same benefit is generally available to the institution's students or their family members or friends or to a particular segment of the student body (e.g., international students, minority students) determined on a basis unrelated to athletics ability.
The following is a list of IMPERMISSIBLE Extra Benefits:
An institutional employee or representative of the institution's athletics interests may not provide a student-athlete with extra benefits or services, including, but not limited to:
(a) A loan of money;
(b) A guarantee of bond;
(c) An automobile or the use of an automobile;
(d) Transportation (e.g., a ride home with a coach), except as permitted in Bylaw 16.9.1, even if the student-athlete reimburses the institution or the staff member for the appropriate amount of the gas or expense; or
(e) Signing or co-signing a note with an outside agency to arrange a loan.
This list is not all-inclusive! Do not accept any benefits that you think may be impermissible. Always ask your Coach or the Compliance Office first.
Protect Your Amateurism
Many of the choices you make as a student-athlete can have serious consequences when it comes to your amateur status. If you want to remain eligible for intercollegiate competition, use caution and a little common sense to avoid these temptations:
Do NOT use your athletics skill in your sport for any form of pay
Do NOT accept a promise of pay even if such pay is received following your collegiate career
Do NOT sign a contract or make a commitment of any kind to play professional sports
Do NOT accept a salary, reimbursement of expenses, or any other form of financial assistance from a professional sports organization based on your athletics skill or participation (except as permitted by NCAA rules and regulations)
Do NOT compete on any professional team, even if you are not paid for doing so
Do NOT enter into a professional draft
Do NOT enter into an agreement with an agent
If you are unsure about an offer that is being made to you, contact your coach or the Compliance Office immediately! Once you lose your amateur status, you cannot get it back! Protect your amateurism and steer clear of the above activities until you have graduated and are ready to take a shot at going pro.