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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
*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
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
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
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
* 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
* 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.