NCAA Rules Extra Benefits

What is an "Extra Benefit"?

The NCAA defines an extra benefit as any special arrangement by an institution employee or a representative of the institution’s athletic interest (“Booster”) to provide a student-athlete (or a student-athlete’s relative or friend) a benefit that is not generally available to other Niagara University students and their relatives and/or friends, or, is not expressly authorized by the NCAA legislation. Therefore, please be aware of the following:

  • A student-athlete cannot accept anything from an employee of NU or a Niagara athletics booster (e.g., use of a car, hair cut, clothing, gifts, money, tickets for any kind of entertainment, payment of long distance telephone calls).
  • A student-athlete cannot accept free or reduced cost room and/or board from any NU employee or booster of NU’s athletics programs. This includes Lewiston, in the student-athlete’s home city or in any other location.
  • A student-athlete cannot accept free or reduced merchandise or services from any merchant unless that free or reduced costs item is also available to the general public.
  • A student-athlete cannot eat at a restaurant as the guest of an athletic booster or any employee of NU.
  • On infrequent special occasions (e.g., a birthday, Thanksgiving, etc.) a student-athlete may accept an invitation to the home of an employee of NU or an athletic booster for a meal.
  • A student-athlete cannot use a Department of Athletics copy machine, fax machine, or make a long distance telephone call using department equipment or the long distance access code of an employee of NU or athletic booster, unless it is for academic purposes and approved through the athletic compliance or academic services office.
  • Members of the Department of Athletics staff or an athletic booster are not permitted to type reports, papers, letters, etc., for a student-athlete.
  • A student-athlete cannot receive a special discount, payment arrangement, or credit on a purchase (e.g., airline ticket, clothing), or service (e.g., laundry, dry cleaning) from an employee of NU or an athletic booster.
  • A NU employee or booster cannot provide a student-athlete with a loan of money, a guarantee of bond, the use of an automobile or the signing or the co-signing of a note to arrange a loan.
  • A NU employee may provide a student-athlete only reasonable and occasional local (i.e., within the Lewiston/Niagara Falls/Buffalo area) transportation.

Extra Benefits (Current Student-Atheletes) – Rules for Staff Members

16.02.3 Extra Benefit

An extra benefit is any special arrangement by an institutional employee or a representative of the institution's athletics interests to provide a student-athlete or the student-athlete's relative or friend a benefit not expressly authorized by NCAA legislation. Receipt of a benefit by student-athletes or their relatives 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 relatives or friends or to a particular segment of the student body (e.g., foreign students, minority students) determined on a basis unrelated to athletics ability.

16.11.1.11 (e) Local Transportation

Staff members may provide reasonable local transportation to student-athletes on an occasional basis.

16.6.1.5 Reasonable Refreshments for Parents (or Legal Guardians)

An institution may provide the parents (or legal guardians) of a student-athlete with reasonable refreshments (e.g., soft drinks, snacks) on an occasional basis.

16.11.1.5 Occasional Meals

A student-athlete or the entire team in a sport may receive an occasional family home meal in the locale of the institution on infrequent and special occasions from an institutional staff member.  An institutional staff member may provide reasonable local transportation to student-athletes to attend such meals.

Note: All occasional meals must have prior approval from the athletics compliance office prior to the meal on the Niagara University Occasional Meal Request Form.

16.11.1.9 Incidental Benefits – Reasonable Refreshments for Student-Athletes

An institution may provide student-athletes with reasonable refreshments (e.g., soft drinks, snacks) for student-athlete educational and business meetings and, on an occasional basis, for celebratory events (e.g., birthdays).

16.11.2.2.2 Nonpermissible – Telephones and Credit Cards

It is not permissible to allow a student-athlete to use a telephone or credit card for personal reasons without charge or at a reduced cost.

Exception: Per Bylaw 16.12.1.11 (d), an institution may provide or arrange for a telephone call in emergency situations as approved by the director of athletics (or his or her designee).

Departmental Policy: A student-athlete’s use of an institutional staff member’s telephone for long distance calls would constitute an impermissible extra benefit and represent a violation of NCAA regulations.

If you become aware that your phone number is being utilized improperly by a student-athlete or any other unauthorized individual, please contact Bill Morris immediately, so that appropriate corrective action can be taken.

16.11.2.3 Other Prohibited 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:

  1. A loan of money;
  2. A guarantee of bond;
  3. The use of an automobile; or
  4. Signing or cosigning a note with an outside agency to arrange a loan.

NOTE: See NCAA Bylaw 16 for More Detailed Questions:

  • Bylaw 16.1 – Awards
  • Bylaw 16.2 – Complimentary Admissions & Ticket Benefits
  • Bylaw 16.3 – Academic & Other Support Services
  • Bylaw 16.4 – Medical Expenses
  • Bylaw 16.5 – Housing & Meals
  • Bylaw 16.6 – Expenses for Student-Athlete’s Friends & Relatives
  • Bylaw 16.7 – Team Entertainment
  • Bylaw 16.8 – Expenses Provided By Institution for Practice & Competition
  • Bylaw 16.10 – Other Travel Expenses Provided By the Institution
  • Bylaw 16.11 – Provisions of Expenses By Individuals Or Organizations Other Than The Institution
  • Bylaw 16.12 – Benefits, Gifts & Services
  • Bylaw 16.13 – Expense Waivers

Extra Benefits – Pre Existing Relationships

Boosters are prohibited from providing any type of benefit to a current or prospective student-athlete. NCAA Bylaw 12.1.1.1.6 prohibits preferential treatment, benefits or services because of the individual's athletics reputation or skill or pay-back potential as a professional athlete, unless such treatment, benefits or services are specifically permitted under NCAA legislation.

The only exception to this rule is if there is a clear preexisting relationship between the booster and the student-athlete. The NCAA membership services staff reviewed the application of NCAA Bylaw 12.1.1.1.6 as it relates to factual situations in which an individual (student-athlete or prospective student-athlete) has received benefits prior to collegiate enrollment from someone other than a family member or legal guardian, and agreed that the following objective guidelines generally should be used in determining whether such benefits are contrary to the legislation:

  1. Did the relationship between the athlete (or the athlete's parents) and the individual providing the benefit(s) develop as a result of the athlete's participation in athletics or notoriety related thereto?
  2. Did the relationship between the athlete (or the athlete's parents) and the individual providing the benefit(s) predate the athlete's status as a prospective student-athlete?
  3. Did the relationship between the athlete (or the athlete's parents) and the individual providing the benefit(s) predate the athlete's status achieved as a result of his or her athletics ability or reputation?
  4. Was the pattern of benefits provided by the individual to the athlete (or the athlete's parents) prior to the athlete attaining notoriety as a skilled athlete similar in nature to those provided after attaining such stature?

The subcommittee, however, noted that the origin and duration of a relationship and the consistency of benefits provided during the relationship are key factors in determining whether the benefits provided are contrary to the spirit and intent of Bylaw 12.1.1.1.6. The subcommittee determined that prior to initial full-time collegiate enrollment, a prospective student-athlete may receive normal and reasonable living expenses from an individual with whom the student-athlete has an established relationship (e.g., high-school coach, nonscholastic athletics team coach, family of a teammate), even if the relationship developed as a result of athletics participation, provided:

  1. The individual is not an agent,
  2. The individual is not an athletics representative of a particular institution involved in recruiting the prospect, and
  3. Such living expenses are consistent with the types of expenses provided by the individual as a part of normal living arrangements (e.g., housing, meals, occasional spending money, use of the family car).

The subcommittee noted that the above mentioned interpretation does not apply to individuals who have no logical ties to the prospect. It also noted that a current student-athlete who, prior to initial collegiate enrollment, has been receiving normal and reasonable living expenses from an individual with whom he or she has an established relationship may continue to receive occasional benefits (e.g., meals during campus visits, reasonable entertainment) from an individual or family with whom the student-athlete has an established relationship. Such expenses may not include educational expenses associated with a grant-in-aid (i.e., tuition and fees, room and board, and required course-related books). [References: Bylaws 12.1.1.1.6 (preferential treatment, benefits or services); 15.2.5 (financial aid from outside sources); 16.12.2.4 (preferential treatment)]