Athletic Compliance: Boosters

As a booster of CMU Athletics, you are required to follow all NCAA, MAC, and institutional rules and regulations. Your compliance enables us to continue strengthening CMU's championship culture of compliance and helps protect the eligibility of enrolled student-athletes and prospective student-athletes.

When it comes to intercollegiate athletics, the golden rule is... ask before you act!

Booster Guide (pdf)
CMU Student-Athletes
Prospective Student-Athletes
Compliance Homepage
Who is a Booster?
You are considered a booster (representative of CMU’s athletics interests) if you have ever:

- Participated in or been a member of an agency or organization that promotes CMU Athletics (e.g., Chippewa Athletic Fund, football alumni association)

- Made a financial contribution to CMU Athletics or the Chippewa Athletic Fund

- Assisted or have been asked by CMU 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 CMU Athletics or any Chippewa sports program in any way

Boosters may be individuals, independent agencies, corporate entities, or other organizations. A common misconception is that NCAA rules only apply to individuals who donate to CMU Athletics. In reality, any individual or entity who represents CMU 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 rules.

Examples of boosters include:

- CMU alumni

- Chippewa Athletic Fund supporters

- Former CMU student-athletes

- Employers of current student-athletes

- CMU faculty and staff members

Who is considered a prospect?
A 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 is my role in recruiting prospective student-athletes?

Only certified CMU coaches are permitted to recruit for the Chippewas.

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 CMU coaches of prospects in the Mount Pleasant area; however, it is not permissible for boosters to attend a prospect’s high school competition at the direction of CMU 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 CMU Athletics, boosters must refer them to the CMU 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 CMU Athletics, the booster must refer them to the CMU Department of Athletics.

NCAA rules regarding offers and inducements to prospects
Boosters, including CMU staff members, may not 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:

- Cash

- 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

How is a student-athlete defined?
A student-athlete is a student who was recruited by a coaching staff member, or a representative of CMU, with the ultimate goal of participating in a CMU sport program. Any other student becomes a student-athlete once he/she reports for one of the sport programs sponsored by the CMU Department of Athletics. NCAA rules apply to all student-athletes, not just those who were recruited or who received an athletic scholarship.
May I employ a student-athlete?
Boosters 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/she has due to athletic ability or position as a student-athlete. 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 CMU Office of Athletic Compliance prior to commencing work.
Can I get a student-athlete's autograph?

It is fine for a booster to ask a student-athlete for an autograph, provided the following:

- Nothing may be offered to the student-athlete in exchange for the autograph

- The autograph should be personalized

- The autograph should not displayed in the booster’s place of business or marketed for sale (e.g., auctioned).

What is an extra benefit?
An “extra benefit” is any special arrangement by a booster, including a CMU employee, to provide a current student-athlete or family with a benefit that is not permissible under NCAA rules. Boosters are not permitted to provide student-athletes with “extra benefits.” The following are common examples (not an exhaustive list) of extra benefits:

- 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 booster’s establishment)

- 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

Is there anything I can give a student-athlete?:

A prize as part of a promotional activity as long as the student-athlete 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 and local related transportation. Meals are restricted to special occasions and must have prior approval from the compliance office. Boosters may only provide meals at their home, not at a restaurant.

What about student-athlete appearances & promotions?
Student-athletes are prohibited from being involved in the advertisement, recommendation or promotion of sales or use of any commercial product or service of any kind.

All charitable, educational and non-profit promotional activities involving student-athletes must have prior approval from the compliance office.
What are the rules governing gambling?
A student-athlete, coach and/or employee of CMU may not provide information to individuals involved in any type of organized gambling concerning sporting events. In addition, student-athletes, coaches and employees of CMU may not solicit or accept any wager on any intercollegiate or professional athletics contest.
What are the rules governing academic integrity?
CMU is committed having each of its student-athletes earn his/her academic success. It is a major infraction for a current or former institutional staff member (i.e., coach, professor, tutor, teaching assistant, student-manager, trainer, etc.) to help a prospective or current student-athlete obtain fraudulent academic credit. We each have a 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?
CMU is required by NCAA regulations to notify boosters of consequences regarding rules violations. Boosters found in violation of NCAA rules are subject to losing benefits and privileges, including season tickets.

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