Northwestern University prides itself on the principle that the pursuit of excellence in intercollegiate athletics must be accomplished within the framework of an academic community dedicated to firm institutional control of athletics and unquestioned integrity. This tradition can only continue if the alumni, boosters and friends of the University foster and maintain the values and goals of the University and the athletic program.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rules and regulations explicitly outline what actions are permissible by a "Representative of Athletics Interests." Commonly referred to as boosters, representatives of athletics interests can play a key role within the athletic department when they act within the guidelines of the NCAA rules.
Any intentional violation of NCAA legislation involving a booster or booster organization may lead to severe sanctions against the University by the NCAA. Athletics representatives found in violation of NCAA rules are subject to disassociation from the Northwestern University Department of Athletics and Recreation and loss of any benefits or privileges related to the Athletics Department.
Should you have specific questions do not hesitate to contact the Compliance Staff at (847) 491-4646. However, we will attempt to answer some questions here.
Who is a Representative of Athletics Interests?
You are a Representative of Athletics Interests if you:
* Have ever participated in or are a member of any organization promoting Northwestern's athletics program (Center Court, N-Club, NGN, Wildcat Fund, etc.)
*Have ever made a donation of money, gifts or services to any of Northwestern University's athletics programs.
*Have ever helped to arrange employment for prospective or current student-athletes.
*Have been involved in promoting Northwestern Athletics in any way.
*Have ever been a member of a varsity team at Northwestern.
*Are the parent(s) or legal guardians of an enrolled or former student-athlete.
According to NCAA rules, once an individual has been identified as an institutional "representative of athletics interests" the individual retains the title for life.
Northwestern University is ultimately responsible for the actions of its athletics representatives in regard to NCAA rules and regulations. If you are aware of any infractions of Big Ten or NCAA rules please report it to the Compliance Office immediately. Even if a violation is unintentional, the eligibility of a prospect or enrolled student-athlete could be in jeopardy.
Who is a prospective student-athlete?
A prospective student-athlete is any student who has started classes for the ninth grade. A student who has not yet started ninth grade may become a prospect if NU or a booster provided the student, their relatives or friends, with financial assistance or benefits not generally provided to other students. In addition, student-athletes enrolled in preparatory school or two-year colleges, or those who have officially withdrawn from a four-year school, are considered prospects. A prospective student-athlete remains a prospect even after he/she has signed a National Letter of Intent or accepted an offer of admission or financial aid to attend Northwestern University. A prospect becomes a current student-athlete only when he/she reports for preseason practice or the first day of classes, which ever occurs first.
Who is a current student-athlete?
A student-athlete is any Northwestern University student who is presently a member of a varsity athletics team, who is receiving athletically related financial aid or who has completed his/her eligibility but is still enrolled in the institution. NCAA regulations apply to all student-athletes, not just those student-athletes who were recruited or who receive an athletics scholarship.
What is an extra benefit?
Members of the athletic staff and representatives of athletics interests are prohibited from providing an extra benefit to a prospective or current student-athlete. An extra benefit is any gift or arrangement provided to a prospective or current student-athlete or their relative or friend, that is not expressly permitted by the NCAA. An extra benefit would include the provision of any transportation, housing, meals, clothes, entertainment, preferential loan terms or other such benefits.
What is recruiting?
Recruiting is any solicitation of a prospect or the prospect's parent/legal guardian by a Northwestern staff member for the purpose of securing the prospect's enrollment at NU and/or participation in NU's athletic program. Recruiting activities include correspondence, e-mail, faxes, telephone conversations and in-person contacts (on and off campus).
Who may recruit?
Only Northwestern University coaches who successfully complete the NCAA Recruiting Rules Examination on an annual basis may recruit off campus for the athletic program.
Representatives of Athletics Interests are prohibited from engaging in any recruiting activities either on or off-campus. An alumnus of the institution may receive phone calls from prospects to discuss the University in general, but may not discuss athletics.
Faculty and staff members are not permitted to recruit off-campus, but they may have on-campus contact with prospects. In general, faculty and staff members may not telephone a prospect until July 1 following the completion of his or her junior year in high school. In most instances, a call by a faculty or staff member counts as the prospects one call that they may receive from the institution each week. Therefore it is imperative that calls from faculty and staff are coordinated through the coach. Faculty and staff members may write to prospects after September 1 of their junior year.
Athletics and Recreation Department staff members may have recruiting contacts with prospects on campus only.
A spouse of a coach or staff member may have contact with a prospect on-campus. Additionally, he or she may make an off-campus contact during the prospect's official visit, as long as it is within a 30-mile radius of the institution's main campus. The spouse may not however, correspond in writing (follow-up letter after visit etc.) with the prospect.
A member of the Board of Trustees may not make on or off-campus recruiting contact with a prospect.
Enrolled student-athletes and other enrolled students are not
considered to be boosters as long as any contact with a prospect is
incidental and does not occur at the direction of a member of the
athletics department. Enrolled students should be aware that they:
* May not make or participate in telephone calls to prospects at the direction of a coaching staff member or financed by Northwestern or a representative of athletics interests.
* May receive telephone calls made at the expense of the prospect subsequent to July 1 following the completion of the prospect's junior year in high school.
* May exchange written correspondence with a prospect.
* May serve as student hosts for a prospect.
What may boosters do?
Permissible activities with prospective student-athletes:
* You may continue to have contact with an established family friend or neighbor who is a prospect as long as such contact is not for recruiting purposes and is not initiated by a NU coaching staff member.
* You may bring outstanding prospects to the attention of the NU coaching staff by sending the coach newspaper clippings and other information about the individual.
* You may assist a prospective student-athlete who has signed a National Letter of Intent with securing employment the summer before he/she enrolls in NU. All arrangements of employment must be made through the Athletic Academic and Student Services Department.
Permissible activities with currently enrolled student-athletes:
* You may have contact with enrolled student-athletes on campus.
* You may invite a student-athlete(s) or the entire team for a meal at your home and provide transportation to the event. The meal, which may be catered, should be limited to infrequent or special occasions (holidays, birthday, etc.) Please seek permission from the Compliance Office first.
* You may invite an entire team for a meal when they are visiting your city for an away from home athletic event. When the team is on the road, this meal may take place at the booster's home or at a restaurant, but must include the entire team.
* You may assist a student-athlete with securing summer and post graduation employment. All arrangements of employment must be made through the Athletic Academic and Student Services Department.
* You may contribute to the Wildcat Fund. This fund helps subsidize the University's commitment to providing a quality athletic experience to more than 400 student-athletes annually.
Northwestern University's system of rules compliance focuses on the education of all constituencies and self-reporting any potential violations to the NCAA and Big Ten Conference. The institution annually reports secondary violations (inadvertent and technical); however, never in its history has the institution been involved in a "major" violation. Thanks to the administration, coaches, student-athletes, and you "the boosters," Northwestern's athletic endeavors will continue to be conducted within the rules of the NCAA and Big Ten Conference.