Compliance for Fans, Friends, and Alumni (Boosters)
NCAA Rules Guide for Boosters
A Message from Director of Athletics Tim Van Alstine
University is extremely proud of its Intercollegiate Athletics
Department and greatly appreciates the loyalty and support of all of
you–alumni, friends, and fans of athletics. This Web site has been
prepared to assist you in becoming familiar with the rules and
regulations of the NCAA, the Missouri Valley Football Conference, and
the Summit League with regard to permissible activities.
regulations, the University is held responsible for the actions of its
boosters– the Representatives of Athletic Interests. RAI’s may not
engage in any recruitment activities or provide benefits or privileges
to prospective and enrolled student-athletes.
It is my hope that
you will carefully study the information provided for you on this Web site. Western Illinois University Intercollegiate Athletics is
honored to have loyal support and continued interest in its athletics
program. As we pursue athletic and academic excellence, we must also
strive for the highest standards of ethical conduct. With your
assistance and cooperation, we believe that we can accomplish all of
If you have any
questions or concerns about various rules and regulations, please do
not hesitate to contact me or the compliance office. Your cooperation, compliance, and support are most important to us as
we move into another academic year.
Tim M. Van Alstine - Director of Athletics
As a booster of Leatherneck Athletics, you
are required to follow all NCAA, Summit League, Missouri Valley Football Conferece, and institutional rules and
regulations to ensure compliance; which enables us to continue
strengthening WIU’s culture of integrity and help protect the
eligibility of enrolled student-athletes and prospective
Who is a Booster?
You are considered a booster (representative of WIU’s athletics interests) if you ever have:
Participated in or been a member of an agency or organization that
promotes Western Illinois Athletics (e.g., Leatherneck Club)
• Made a financial contribution to WIU Athletics or the Leatherneck Club
• Assisted or have been asked by WIU Athletics to assist in the recruitment of prospects
• Assisted in providing benefits to current student-athletes or their families (e.g., occasional meal, summer job)
• Been involved in promoting WIU Athletics or any Leatherneck sports program in any way
may be individuals, independent agencies, corporate entities, or other
organizations. A common misconception is that NCAA rules only apply to
individuals who donate to WIU Athletics. In reality, any individual or
entity who represents WIU Athletics in any way (e.g., promoting,
recruiting) or provides any benefits to prospects or enrolled
student-athletes is considered a booster and required to follow NCAA
Examples of boosters include:
• WIU alumni
• Leatherneck Club supporters
• Former WIU student-athletes
• Employers of current student-athletes
• WIU faculty and staff members
Booster Interaction with Prospects
prospect is defined as any student who has started classes for the 9th
grade. In addition, a student who has not started classes for the 9th
grade becomes a prospect if an institution provides the student (or the
student’s relatives or friends) with any financial assistance or extra
benefits. Prospects also include junior college students as well as high school or preparatory school students who do not play varsity sports.
What boosters need to know about prospects and recruiting:
Only certified WIU coaches are permitted to recruit for the Leathernecks.
Boosters may not make any recruiting contacts, including: on- or
off-campus contact (face-to-face encounters) with a prospect or his or
her parents or legal guardians, e-mails, letters, phone calls, text and
instant messages, or correspondence on prospects’ personal Web sites
(e.g., Facebook, MySpace).
• Boosters are permitted to notify WIU
coaches of prospects in the Macomb area; however, it is not
permissible for boosters to attend a prospect’s high school competition
at the direction of WIU coaches.
• Boosters may attend high school
and junior college competitions provided no contact with prospects or
the families of prospects occurs.
• Boosters are not permitted to
contact a prospect’s coach, principal, or counselor. They also are not
permitted to pick up film or transcripts in an attempt to evaluate a
prospect’s athletic or academic abilities.
• Boosters are permitted
to speak to prospects by telephone only if the call is initiated by the
prospect and the call is not for recruiting purposes. If the prospect
wants to talk about WIU Athletics, boosters must refer them to the WIU
Department of Athletics.
• Boosters are permitted to continue
existing relationships with an established family friend or neighbor
provided any contacts are not made for recruiting purposes. If the
prospect wants to talk about WIU Athletics, the booster must refer them
to the WIU Department of Athletics.
NCAA rules regarding offers and inducements to prospects
staff members and WIU boosters cannot be involved directly or
indirectly in making arrangements for, giving or offering to give,
financial aid or any other benefits to a prospect or a prospect’s
relatives or friends. Some examples (not an exhaustive list) of
impermissible inducements include:
• Free or reduced cost housing
• Gifts of any kind (e.g., clothing and equipment)
• Arrangement of employment for prospect’s relatives
• Any tangible items, including merchandise
• Cosigning of a loan
Booster Interactions with Current Leatherneck Student-Athletes
student-athlete is a student who was recruited by a coaching staff
member or a representative of WIU with the ultimate goal of the student
participating in a WIU athletic program. Any other student becomes a
student-athlete only when the student reports for any varsity team
conducted under the WIU Department of Athletics. NCAA rules apply to
all student-athletes, not just those who were recruited or who received
an athletic scholarship.
may employ a student-athlete provided the student-athlete is paid the
going rate for work actually performed. The student-athlete’s
compensation may not include any remuneration for value or utility the
student-athlete may have for the employer because of the publicity,
reputation, fame, or personal following that he or she obtained because
of athletic ability. The student-athlete may not be involved in any
advertisements for the business. All employment activities involving a
student-athlete must be pre-approved by the WIU Compliance Office prior to commencing work.
is fine for a booster to ask a student-athlete for an autograph,
provided nothing is offered in exchange for the autograph, the
autograph is personalized, and the autograph is not displayed in the
booster’s place of business or marketed for sale (e.g., auctioned).
“extra benefit” is any special arrangement by a WIU employee or booster
to provide a current student-athlete or the student’s family with a
benefit that is not permissible under NCAA rules. Bottom line: Boosters
are not permitted to provide WIU student-athletes with any “extra
benefits.” The following are common examples (not an exhaustive list)
of “extra benefits,” which boosters may not provide to student-athletes:
• Cash or loans in any amount or signing/cosigning for a loan
• Use of an automobile or providing a ride anywhere
Gifts of any kind, including birthday/ holiday gifts and congratulatory
gifts (e.g., conference championship, breaking a school record)
Free or discounted meals or services at a commercial establishment
(e.g., 10 percent discount every time student-athlete eats at a
• Off-campus housing benefits (e.g., reduced rent, free storage)
• Use of personal property (e.g., storage, lodging)
• Entertaining an enrolled student-athlete or their friends (e.g., use of lake home, Jet Ski, buying dinner at a restaurant)
• Free or reduced-cost services such as car repairs, legal advice, haircuts, medical services (e.g., dental, chiropractic)
• Tickets to community events or concerts, even if the booster received the tickets for free
• Inappropriate academic assistance
Student-athletes can receive:
A prize as part of a promotional activity as long as he/she is selected
at random and the promotion is open to the general public.
• Their athletic apparel at the end of their collegiate career.
An occasional family home meal from a WIU coach or a WIU booster as
long as the meals are restricted to special occasions and have prior
approval from the compliance office. Local (reasonable) transportation
also may be provided for the student-athlete by the coach or booster in
conjunction with the meal. Boosters can only provide meals at their
home, not at a restaurant. All occasional meals must be pre-approved by
the WIU Compliance Office.
What about Student-Athlete Appearances & Promotions?
are prohibited from being involved in the advertisement, recommendation
or promotion of sales or use of any commercial product or service of
All charitable, educational and nonprofit promotional
activities involving student-athletes must have prior approval from the
Athletics Department. Please contact the Compliance Office at (309) 298-2221 to make arrangements.
What are the rules governing gambling?
student-athlete, coach and/or employee of WIU may not provide
information to individuals involved in any type of organized gambling
concerning sporting events. In addition, student-athletes, coaches and
employees of WIU may not solicit or accept any wager on any
intercollegiate or professional athletics contest.
What are the rules governing academic integrity?
is committed having its student-athletes earn their academic success.
It is a major infraction if a current of former institutional staff
member (i.e., coach, professor, tutor, teaching assistant,
student-manager, trainer, etc...) helps a prospective or current
student-athlete to obtain fraudulent academic credit. It is all of our
responsibility to help protect the academic integrity of the University
and the welfare of our student-athletes.
What are the consequences to boosters for NCAA violations?
is required by NCAA regulations to notify boosters of consequences
regarding rules violations. Boosters found in violation of NCAA rule
are subject to losing benefits and privileges, including season tickets AND being disassociated from Western Illinois University.
When it comes to intercollegiate athletics, the golden rule is . . . ASK BEFORE YOU ACT!