Question of the Month
A: If a prospective student-athlete reports for athletics participation before the student’s amateur status has been certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center, the student may practice, but not compete, for a maximum period of 45 days. After this period, the student shall have his or her amateur status certified to continue to practice or to compete.
Q: How long is a prospective student-athlete considered to be a prospect?
A: A prospective student-athlete remains a prospect even after committing to or signing a National Letter of Intent with the Mississippi State University or any institution, and both the institution and the prospect continue to be governed by NCAA recruiting legislation regarding prospects until the prospects reports for regular squad practice or the prospect attends his/her first day of classes in any regular semester.
Q: While on an official or un-official visit, can Mississippi State University and/or its fans, alumni or boosters identify or utilize personalized recruiting aids for prospects?
A: No, the university may not arrange miscellaneous, personalized recruiting aids (personalized jerseys, personalized audio/video scoreboard presentation, game day simulations, etc...) during any visit a prospect may make. Personalized recruiting aids include any decorative and special additions to any location the prospect will visit regardless of whether or not the items include the prospects name or picture. Posters with prospects names or chants for those prospects are prohibited.
Q: Can I get an autographed football to be auctioned at a fundraiser for my high school booster club?
A: It is not permissible for an institution's athletics department, in response to requests from high school (or prep school or two-year college) groups, to provide items (autographed balls, jerseys) to assist in raising money for its programs (athletics or other). An institution may not donate institutional memorabilia (jerseys, hats, T-shirts) to any organization for the purpose of being auctioned to raise funds to provide financial assistance to high school students to attend collegiate institutions. An institution (or an institution's coach or representative of its athletics interests) may contribute to a nonathletics organization that includes prospective student-athletes and nonprospects (e.g., YMCA, YWCA, Boys and Girls Clubs), provided the assistance is not earmarked for a particular prospective student-athlete and is offered in conjunction with the organization's regular fund-raising activities. If you do have a memorabilia request, please contact the Bulldog Club at 662-325-3074.
Q: What is "Grayshirting?"
A: "Grayshirting" is a term used in the recruiting process to describe situations in which a student-athlete delays initial enrollment in a collegiate institution to the winter or spring term after the traditional academic year begins. Students who "grayshirt" often use the fall to take classes part time or choose not to enroll in college at all. "Grayshirting" is not a formal designation by the NCAA or the National Letter of Intent program.
Q: May a prospect eat off-campus in Starkville with coaches, student-athletes and or institutional staff members during an un-official visit?
A: Possibly, but only after July 1 following the prospect's junior year of high school, only those coaches that can recruit off-campus can be in attendance and only during a contact period for that sport. No institutional staff member or current student-athlete can have off-campus, in-person contact with a prospect.
Q: What do athletic scholarships pay for?
Athletic scholarships may be full scholarships or partial scholarships, depending on the sport and the discretion of the coaching staff. Some sports, like football, basketball and volleyball, are head count sports where each student-athlete is on a full athletic scholarship that pays for tuition, fees, books, room & board. Some sports, such as baseball, track, and soccer, are equivalency sports, meaning that a coaching staff is limited to a specified number of scholarships (such as 11.7 in baseball) to divide among the roster. Therefore, different student-athletes receive different scholarship amounts varying from a book scholarship to a full scholarship.
Q: What is the NCAA Eligibility Center?
A: The NCAA Eligibility Center certifies the academic and amateur credentials of all college bound student-athletes who wish to compete in NCAA Division I or II athletics. In order to compete in athletics or receive an athletics scholarship during your first year at the Division I level, a student-athlete must:
- Graduate from high school
- Complete 16 core courses
- Earn a minimum required GPA in core courses
- Earn a combined SAT or ACT sum score that matches your core-course GPA
Please click here to see initial eligibility standards.
Q: Can a current student-athlete come and speak to my organization?
A: It may be permissible for student-athletes to speak to charitable organizations. Mississippi State Athletics has set-up a process to insure our student-athletes do not violate NCAA Bylaws concerning Promotional Activities. If you wish to have a student-athlete speak, please see the Promotional Activities Request Form on the Compliance Website and contact Ann Carr, Senior Associate Athletics Director/Women's Sports, Student-Athlete Services at email@example.com.
Q: What are the hourly and weekly limits on countable athletically related activities?
A: During the academic year when the sport is in-season the limits on countable activities are no more than four hours per day, 20 hours per week with one day off during that week. Out-of-season limits are 8 hours per week with two days off for that week.
Q: What is a "contact" per NCAA rules and regulations and when can a coach begin off-campus contact with prospects?
A: A contact is any face-to-face encounter between a prospective student-athlete or the parents, any relative or legal guardian and an institutional staff member or athletics representative (booster) during which the dialogue that occurs is in excess of a greeting. No booster should have any contact with a prospect. Generally speaking all off-campus recruiting contact shall not be made with a prospect or parents, relatives or legal guardians prior to July 1 following the completion of the prospect's junior year of high school.
Q: Can a student-athlete receive any type of discount for services or goods?
A: If the discount is due to the fact the individual is a student-athlete this would be considered an impermissible benefit. If the discount was received because it is available to all students per se, then yes that would be allowable. If you have any concerns about this or any issue, please contact the MSU Compliance Office at 662-325-5891.
Q: What is a non-qualifier?
A: A non-qualifier is a student who has not graduated from high school or who, at the time specified in the regulations has not successfully completed the required core-curriculum or has not presented the required minimum core-curriculum grade-point average and/or the corresponding SAT/ACT score required for a qualifier.
Q. Who is eligible to sign a National Letter of Intent (NLI) and Financial Aid Agreement?
A: An institution shall not provide a high school or preparatory school prospective student-athlete a written offer of athletically related financial aid until he or she has registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center and the institution has placed the prospective student-athlete on its institutional request list (IRL) with the NCAA Eligibility Center.
Effective August 1, 2010: The following requirements must be met before an institution may provide a written offer of athletically related financial aid to a prospective student-athlete:
(a) A high school or preparatory school prospective student-athlete must register with the NCAA Eligibility Center;
(b) A high school or preparatory school prospective student-athlete must be placed on the institution's institutional request list (IRL) with the NAA Eligibility Center; and
(c) A high school, preparatory school or transfer (if applicable) prospective student-athlete must complete the amateurism certification questionnaire administered by the NCAA Eligibility Center.
Q. What are Nontraditional Courses?
A: Typically these are courses that are taught via the internet, distance learning, independent study, individualized instruction, correspondence, and courses taught by similar means. Some of these courses MAY be used to satisfy NCAA core-course requirements if the following criteria are satisfied:
a. The course meets all requirements for a core course;
b. The instructor and the student have ongoing access to one another for purposes of teaching, evaluating and providing assistance to the student throughout the duration of the course;
c. The instructor and the student have regular interaction with one another for purposes of teaching, evaluating and providing assistance to the student throughout the duration of the course;
d. The student's work (e.g., exams, papers, assignments) is available for evaluation and validation;
e. Evaluation of the student's work is conducted by the appropriate academic authorities in accordance with the high school's established academic policies;
f. The course includes a defined time period for completion; and
g. The course is acceptable for any student and is placed on the high school transcript.
Q. What are an institution's Sports Camps and Clinics?
A. An institution's sports camp or instructional clinic shall be any camp or clinic that is owned or operated by a member institution or an employee of the member institution's athletics department, either on or off its campus, and in which prospective student-athletes participate.
Q. What is the Five-Year Rule for Division I?
A. A student-athlete shall complete four seasons of participation within five calendar years from the beginning of the semester or quarter in which the student-athlete first registered for a minimum full-time program of studies in a collegiate institution, with time spent in the armed services, on official church missions or with recognized foreign aid services of the U.S. government being excepted.
Q. What is the criteria governing compensation to student athletes?
A. Compensation may be paid to a student-athlete:
(a) Only for work actually performed; and
(b) At a rate commensurate with the going rate in that locality for similar services.
Such compensation may not include any remuneration for value or utility that the student-athlete may have for the employer because of the publicity, reputation, fame or personal following that he or she has obtained because of athletics ability.
Q. What is the general rule on Nonpermissible Benefits, Gifts, and Services?
A. The student-athlete shall not receive any extra benefit. The term "extra benefit" refers to any special arrangement by an institutional employee or representative of the institution's athletics interests (Booster) to provide the student-athlete or his or her relatives or friends with a benefit not expressly authorized by NCAA legislation.
Q. What are the requirements for an Official Visit by a high school or preparatory school senior?
A. The prospective student-athlete must:
(a) present the institution with a score from a PSAT, SAT, PLAN, OR ACT taken on a national testing date under national testing conditions, except that a state-administered ACT may be used to meet the requirement, the score must be presented through a testing agency document, on a high school or preparatory school academic transcript (official or unofficial) or through the use of the applicable testing agency's automated-voice system.
(b) present the institution with a high school academic transcript (official or unofficial),
(c) register with the NCAA Eligibility Center, and
(d) be placed on the institution’s Institutional Request List(IRL) with the NCAA Eligibility Center.
Q. When is the first opportunity for a prospective student-athlete to come on an expense paid visit to the institution?
A. No earlier than the opening day of classes of the prospective student-athlete’s senior year in high school.
Q: What is an "evaluation" per NCAA rules and regulations?
A: An evaluation is any off-campus activity designed to assess the academic qualifications or athletics ability of a prospective student-athlete, including any visit to a prospective student-athlete's educational institution (during which no contact occurs) or the observation of a prospective student-athlete participating in any practice or competition at any site.
Q. As an alumnus, can I provide employment to a current student-athlete?
A. This is possible, please contact our MSU Office of Athletic Compliance before employing a current student-athlete. We require all enrolled student-athletes to maintain a written employment record with the athletic department.
Q: My son's high school coach has encouraged him to participate in a high school all-star event with hopes that your college coaches will be in attendance. Will NCAA bylaws allow your coaches to attend this event?
A: In order for any FBS football coaches to attend this high school event, the event in this case must be organized and conducted solely by the applicable state high school athletics association, or state preparatory school association and the event must be conducted during an evaluation or contact period.
Q: As a student athlete, can I sell or exchange for any item of value, a post-season event award and/or memorabilia that I received?
A: No. Any awards received for intercollegiate athletics participation may not be sold, exchanged or assigned for another item of value, even if the student-athlete’s name or picture does not appear on the award.
Q. I am an outside consultant who travels across the country giving pointers to coaches and their team. Can I come to your campus and present to your coaches and teams?
A. A Division I institution may use or arrange for a temporary consultant to provide in-service training for the coaching staff, but no interaction with student-athletes is permitted unless the individual is counted against the applicable coaching limits.
Q: My daughter wants to transfer from her current 4 year Division I institution to your Division I institution and participate in women's basketball. She has been told that she will need to satisfy an academic year of residence. What must she do to satisfy this academic year of residence?
A: To satisfy an academic year of residence at that institution, the student shall:
(a) Be enrolled in and complete a minimum full-time program of studies for two full semesters or three full quarters (excluding summer term); or
(b) Be enrolled in a minimum full-time program of studies for two full semesters or three full quarters and pass a number of hours (including hours earned at the certifying institution during a summer term) that is at least equal to the sum total of the minimum load of each of the required terms.
Q. My son is a senior in high school. He has been informed that he will need to have 16 academic core courses in high school to meet freshman academic requirements to participate in athletics at a Division I NCAA member institution. What are the academic core course areas required for the 16?
A: The qualified academic core course areas are:
(a) English – 4 years;
(b) Mathematics – 3 years (at level of Algebra I or higher);
(c) Natural/physical science – 2 years (including at least one laboratory course if offered);
(d) Additional course – 1 year (in English, mathematics, or natural/physical science)
(e) Social science – 2 years
(f) Additional courses – 4 years (in any above areas or foreign language, philosophy or nondoctrinal religion courses.
Q. What are the purposes of institutional camps and clinics?
A. An institution's sports camp or clinic shall be one that:
(a) Places special emphasis on a particular sport or sports and provides specialized instruction or practice and may include competition;
(b) Involves activities designed to improve overall skills and general knowledge in the sport; or
(c) Offers a diversified experience without emphasis on instruction, practice or competition in any particular sport.
Q. As a booster, can I treat any team or individual student-athlete to a meal?
A. Yes, a student-athlete or the entire team in a sport may receive an occasional meal from a representative of athletics interests on infrequent and special occasions provided the meal:
(a) has prior approval from the Athletic Compliance Office; and
(b) may only be provided in an individual's home, on campus or at a facility that is regularly used for home competition and may be catered.
Q: What certification is required before Division I Coaches are allowed to recruit any prospective student-athletes off campus?
A: Annual Certification is required. Such certification procedures shall include a requirement that the coaches shall have passed a standardized national test developed by the NCAA national office covering NCAA recruiting legislation, including Bylaw 13 and other bylaws that relate to the recruitment of prospective student-athletes as a condition for being permitted to engage in off-campus recruiting.
Q: My daughter is a high school 10th grade volleyball player. When can Division I coaches have in-person contact with my daughter about playing volleyball on the collegiate level?
A: The General Rule - Off-campus recruiting contacts shall not be made with an individual (or his or her relatives or legal guardians) before July 1 following the completion of his or her junior year in high school (July 7 after the junior year in high school in women's ice hockey and July 15 after the junior year in high school in women's gymnastics), or the opening day of classes of his or her senior year in high school (as designated by the high school), whichever is earlier.
Q: As a multiple-sport prospective student-athlete playing football and baseball, how many official visits am I allowed per a single Division I institution?
A: Not more than one official (expense-paid) visit is permitted to any single institution regardless of the number of sports in which the prospective student-athlete is involved.
Q: How may an institutional staff member deliver the National Letter of Intent to a prospective student-athlete?
A: The letter may be delivered by express mail, courier service, regular mail, electronic mail or facsimile machine. In-person, off-campus delivery of the letter of intent shall be prohibited.
Q: When a prospective student-athlete is on an official visit, can any current student of the institution serve as Student Host?
A: No, the student host must be either a current student-athlete or a student designated in a manner consistent with the institution’s policy for providing campus visits or tours to prospective students in general.
Q: After a prospective student-athlete commits to a Division I institution, are there any limits on the telephone calls from the coaches?
A: There shall be no limit on the number of telephone calls by the institution to a prospective student-athlete beginning the calendar day after one of the following:
(a) The prospective student-athlete signs a National Letter of Intent (NLI) or the institution’s written offer of admission and /or financial aid; or
(b) The institution receives a financial deposit in response to the institution's offer of admission.
Q. As a Division I student-athlete, am I permitted to establish my own business?
A. A student-athlete may establish his or her own business, provided the student-athlete’s name, photograph, appearance or athletics reputation are not used to promote the business
Q. Can a National Letter of Intent (NLI) signee be released from an NLI?
A. Yes, a request for release must be initiated by the student-athlete by submitting the NLI Release Request. Also, it is the institution’s discretion to grant a release or not.
Q. Are student-athletes allowed to participate in community service/promotional activities?
A. Yes, it is possible for student-athletes to participate in institutional or recognized entity thereof, member conference or noninstitutional charitable, educational, or nonprofit agency promotions, provided prior approval is received from the athletic director (or their designee).
Q. What is amateurism certification?
A. The amateurism certification process ensures incoming Division I and II student-athletes meet NCAA amateurism principles.
Q. Is it possible for my athletics scholarship awarded amount for a given period to be reduced or canceled?
A. Yes, Institutional financial aid based in any degree on athletics ability may be reduced or canceled during the period of the award if the recipient:
(a) Renders himself or herself ineligible for intercollegiate competition;
(b) Fraudulently misrepresents any information on an application, letter of intent or financial aid agreement;
(c) Engages in serious misconduct warranting substantial disciplinary penalty; or
(d) Voluntarily (on his or her initiative) withdraws from a sport at any time for personal reasons. A student-athlete’s request for written permission to contact another four-year collegiate institution regarding a possible transfer does not constitute a voluntary withdrawal.
Q. What is Initial Eligibility and why is it important?
A. Initial Eligibility is a process each prospective student-athlete must go through with the NCAA Eligibility Center to ensure NCAA academic and amateurism guidelines have been met. It is important, because prospective student-athletes cannot participate in any sport for a Division I or II institution without this approved certification.
Q: If prospective student-athlete has satisfied all requirements with the NCAA Eligibility Center and has been offered an athletic scholarship, is this a guarantee he/she will be admitted to the institution?
A: No, satisfying the NCAA Eligibility Center requirements does not mean a prospect will automatically be accepted to the school offering the scholarship. Every school has unique admissions requirements; therefore, the prospect must apply to and be accepted by the school.
Q: How is Progress-Toward-Degree for Division I student-athletes eligibility defined?
A: Once prospective student-athletes have cleared initial eligibility to compete, they must continue to meet academic and amateurism benchmarks to stay eligible for competition. These are referred to as “continuing eligibility” or “progress-toward-degree” rules. The rules’ purpose is for student-athletes to continually be on track to earn their degree.
Q: What is the benefit of signing the National Letter of Intent (NLI)?
A: Since the NLI is a binding contract, it guarantees the signee at least one academic year of athletic aid for college. Also, signing an NLI essentially puts an end to the recruiting process since NLI schools are prohibited from recruiting prospective student-athletes who have already signed letters with other NLI schools.
Q: What happens when a prospective student-athlete signs an NLI with one school but attend a different school? A: If a prospective student-athlete signs an NLI with one school but opts to attend a different school participating in the NLI program, the prospect may not compete in intercollegiate athletics until he or she completes one full academic year in residence at the new school. The prospect will also be charged with the loss of one season of intercollegiate athletics competition in all sports.
Q: Is it possible for a student-athlete to receive complimentary admissions to allow for guest to attend the institutional event in which he or she participates?
A: Yes, an institution may provide four complimentary admissions per home or away intercollegiate athletics event to a student-athlete in the sport in which the individual participates. Complimentary admissions shall be provided only through a pass list for individuals designated by the student-athlete. “Hard tickets” shall not be issued.
Q: Are student-athletes automatically eligible for Postseason Competition - Between Terms?
A: No, to be eligible to compete in a post-season event (e.g., conference tournament, bowl game, National Invitation Tournament, NCAA championship) that occurs between regular terms (including summer) a student-athlete shall have satisfactorily completed six-semester or six-quarter hours of academic credit during the preceding regular academic term of full-time enrollment.
Q: What is the NCAA bylaw on sports wagering Activities?
A: The following individuals shall not knowingly participate in sports wagering activities or provide information to individuals involved in or associated with any type of sports wagering activities concerning intercollegiate, amateur or professional athletics competition:
(a) Staff members of an institution’s athletics department;
(b) Nonathletics department staff members who have responsibilities within or over the athletics department (e.g., chancellor or president, faculty athletics representative, individual to whom athletics reports);
(c) Staff members of a conference office; and
Q. What is a “Dead Period”?
A. A dead period is a period of time when it is not permissible to make in-person recruiting contacts or evaluations on or off the institution’s campus. It is not permissible for a prospective student-athlete to have an official or unofficial visit to the institution’s campus and no complimentary admissions for a prospect during a dead period. It remains permissible to write or telephone a prospective student-athlete during a dead period.
Q: The NCAA opposes all forms of legal and illegal sports wagering. With March Madness right around the corner, many want to know how the NCAA defines sports wagering?
A: Sports wagering includes placing, accepting or soliciting a wager (on a staff member’s or student-athlete’s own behalf or on the behalf of others) of any type with any individual or organization on any intercollegiate, amateur or professional team or contest. Sports wagering include, but are not limited to, the use of a bookmaker or parlay card; Internet sports wagering; auctions in which bids are placed on teams, individuals or contest; and pools or fantasy leagues in which an entry fee is required and there is an opportunity to win a prize.
Q: What are examples of permissible activities for a booster, when it comes to recruiting?
A: There are many rules prohibiting booster involvement with prospects and the recruiting process, as a booster, you may:
• Notify university coaching staff members about noteworthy prospects in your area.
• Attend high school or two-year college athletic contests or other events where prospects may compete, provided no contact occurs.
• Contact compliance office with any questions at (662)325-5891.
Q: How does a student satisfy an academic year of residence?
A: To satisfy an academic year of residence, a student shall:
(a) Be enrolled in and complete a minimum full-time program of studies for two full semesters or three full quarters; or
(b) Be enrolled in a minimum full-time program of studies for two full semesters or three full quarters and pass a number of hours (including hours earned at the certifying institution during a summer term) that is at least equal to the sum total of the minimum load of each of the required terms.
Q: Can a student-athlete receive compensation for teaching or coaching sport skills or techniques in his or her sport on a fee-for-lesson basis?
Q: Once an individual has been identified as a "Booster", how long does he/she retain this identity?
A: Yes, on or after August 1 of a prospective student-athlete’s senior year in high school, an institution may indicate in writing to a prospective student-athlete that an athletically related grant-in-aid will be offered by the institution; however, the institution may not permit the prospective student-athlete to sign a form indicating his or her acceptance of such an award before the initial signing date in that sport in the NLI program.
Q: The NCAA allows institutions to provide complimentary admissions for home and away intercollegiate athletics events to a student-athlete in the sport in which the individual participates. Is it allowable for the student-athlete to sell the complimentary admissions?
Q: Is an NLI binding, if the coach for the sport leaves the institution?
A: Yes, the NLI you signed with the institution remains binding even if the coach who recruited you leaves the institution with which you signed. When you sign an NLI, you sign with an institution and not with a coach or a specific team.
Q: How long can the prospective student-athlete hold on to the National Letter of Intent (NLI) and athletics aid agreement documents once they have been issued by the institution?
A: The prospective student-athlete must sign the NLI and athletics aid agreement within 7 days of issuance; otherwise the NLI is invalid.
Q: What is Countable Athletically Related Activities (CARA)?
A: CARA include ANY required activity with an athletics purpose involving student-athletes and at the direction of, or supervised by, one or more of an institution’s coaching staff (including strength and conditioning coaches) and must be counted within the weekly and daily limitations under NCAA Bylaws 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199. Administrative activities shall not be considered as CARA.
Q: How much publicity can an institution issue regarding a prospect signing the National Letter of Intent (NLI)?
A: There are no restrictions on publicity related to a prospective student-athlete after he or she has signed an NLI or the institution’s written offer of admission and/or financial aid or after the institution has received his or her financial deposit in response to its offer of admission.
Q: When is the first opportunity for a prospective student-athlete (psa) to be provided an expense-paid visit (Official Visit) in Division I basketball?
A: In men’s basketball, a psa may not be provided an expense –paid visit earlier than January 1 of his junior year in high school.
In women’s basketball, a psa may not be provided an expense-paid visit earlier than the Thursday following the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship game of the prospect’s junior year in high school.
Q: May college courses be used to satisfy core-curriculum requirements for a prospective student-athlete’s initial eligibility?
A: Yes, college courses may be used to satisfy core-curriculum requirements if accepted by the high school, provided the courses are accepted for any other student, meet all other requirements for core courses and are placed on the student’s high school transcript.
Q: When is athletically related activity for the student-athlete considered “voluntary”?
A: When the following conditions are met:
a. The student-athlete must not be required to report back to a coach or other athletics department staff member any information related to the activity;
b. The activity must be initiated and requested solely by the student-athlete;
c. The student-athlete’s attendance and participation in the activity (or lack thereof) may not be recorded for the purposes of reporting such information to coaching staff members or other student-athletes; and
d. The student-athlete may not be subjected to penalty if he or she elects not to participate in the activity.
Q: May student-athletes be employed at a sports camp or clinic?
A: Yes, student-athletes may be employed in any sports camp or clinic, provided compensation is provided only for work actually performed and at a rate commensurate with the going rate in that locality for similar services. A student-athlete who only lectures or demonstrates at a camp/clinic may not receive compensation for his/her appearance at the camp/clinic.
Q: Can a current student-athlete’s name and picture appear on a camp or clinic brochure?
A: Yes, an institutional or privately owned camp may use a student-athlete’s name, picture and institutional affiliation only in the camp counselor section in its camp brochure to identify the student-athlete as a staff member. A student-athlete’s name or picture may not be used in any other way to directly advertise or promote the camp.
Q: What are the weekly limits for required summer athletically related activities for NCAA Division I basketball?
A: Student-athletes are limited to a maximum of eight hours per week, with not more than two hours per week spent on skill-related instruction. There is no requirement to provide a day (or days) off during the eight weeks of required activities.