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Compliance


Helpful Definitions
Important General Rules
Specific Do's and Don'ts



As a member institution of the NCAA, Mississippi State University is obligated to conduct its athletics program in compliance with the rules and regulations of the Association. While the University's President, Dr. Mark Keenum, has ultimate responsibility for the conduct of the intercollegiate athletics program, rules compliance is the responsibility of everyone. You, as an alumnus or friend of the University, share such responsibility equally with University coaches, staff members and student-athletes. As such, you are fully expected to comply with all applicable NCAA rules and regulations.

As part of its continuous effort to develop more effective means of assuring rules compliance, Mississippi State University has created the following guide to the rules and regulations that potentially impact you. Please take the time to educate yourself on the significance of these rules and regulations, and consider them as you support Mississippi State University athletics. Mississippi State University is committed to operating its intercollegiate athletics program with the highest degree of integrity and professionalism, and we urge you to conduct yourself accordingly.

This guide contains only a fraction of the existing NCAA rules and regulations, so it should not be relied upon exclusively. If you have any questions or need further information regarding such rules and regulations, please contact Bracky Brett in the MSU Compliance Office at (662) 325-0245. Thank you for your support of Mississippi State University athletics!


Helpful Definitions

Representative of Athletics Interests: A "representative of the institution's athletics interests" is an individual who is known (or who should have been known) by a member of the institution"s executive or athletics administration to:
  • Have participated in or to be a member of an agency or organization promoting the institution's intercollegiate athletics program;
  • Have made financial contributions to the athletics department or to an athletics booster organization of that institution;
  • Be assisting or to have been requested (by the athletics department staff) to assist in the recruitment of prospects;
  • Be assisting or to have assisted in providing benefits to enrolled student-athletes or their families; or
  • Have been involved otherwise in promoting the institution's athletics program.
** Once an individual is identified as such a representative, the person retains that identity indefinitely

Prospective Student-Athlete: A prospective student-athlete ("prospect") is a student who has started classes for the ninth grade. In addition, a student who has not started classes for the ninth grade becomes a prospective student-athlete if the institution provides such an individual (or the individual's relatives or friends) any financial assistance or other benefits that the institution does not provide to prospective students generally. A prospective student-athlete maintains his or her identity as a prospect after he or she signs a Letter of Intent or financial aid agreement to attend the institution. His or her identity as a prospect is not lost until the start of classes at the institution or the start of official team practice immediately prior to the start of classes.

Recruiting: Recruiting is any solicitation of a prospect or a prospect's relatives (or legal guardian(s)) by an institutional staff member or by a representative of the institution's athletics interests for the purpose of securing the prospect's enrollment and ultimate participation in the institution's intercollegiate athletics program.

Contact: A contact is any face-to-face encounter between a prospect or the prospect's parents, relatives or legal guardian(s) and an institutional staff member or athletics representative during which any dialogue occurs in excess of an exchange of a greeting. Any such face-to-face encounter that is prearranged or that takes place on the grounds of the prospect's educational institution or at the site of organized competition or practice involving the prospect or the prospect"s high school, preparatory school, two-year college or all-star team shall be considered a contact, regardless of the conversation that occurs.


Important General Rules

1. Do not do ANYTHING for a prospect or an MSU student-athlete or his or her parents, relatives or guardian(s) without first receiving specific authorization from the MSU Compliance Office.

2. Only authorized MSU athletic department staff members are permitted to be involved in the recruitment of prospects. All in-person, on- and off-campus recruiting contacts with a prospect or a prospect's parents, relatives or guardian(s) shall be made only by authorized MSU staff members. Such contact, as well as correspondence and telephone calls, by representatives of athletics interests is prohibited.

3. "Representatives of athletics interests" are not permitted to be involved, directly or indirectly, in making arrangements for or giving or offering to give any financial aid or other benefits to a prospect or an MSU student-athlete or his or her parents, relatives, guardian(s) or friends.


Specific Do's And Don'ts

I. PROSPECTS

*DO NOT telephone or send written correspondence to a prospect or a prospect's parents, relatives or guardian(s) for the purpose of soliciting the prospect's participation in the MSU athletics program. If a telephone conversation is initiated with you, please refer all questions regarding the MSU athletics program to an MSU coaching staff member.

*DO NOT make in-person contact with a prospect or a prospect's parents, relatives or guardian(s) either on or off the college campus.

*DO NOT contact a student-athlete enrolled at another four-year collegiate institution for the purpose of exploring his or her transfer to MSU for participation in the MSU athletics program. If such a student-athlete contacts you, please refer all questions regarding his or her transfer to an MSU coaching staff member.

*DO NOT mail anything (newspaper clippings, greeting cards, letters, posters, programs, etc.) to a prospect or a prospect"s parents, relatives or guardian(s).

*DO NOT contact any staff member (coach, principal, counselor, etc.) of a prospect's educational institution in an attempt to assess a prospect"s academic qualifications or athletic ability.

*DO NOT directly or indirectly become involved in making arrangements for a prospect or a prospect's parents, relatives, guardian(s) or friends to receive any financial aid or other benefits, regardless of whether similar financial aid, benefits or arrangements are available to prospective students in general, their relatives or friends. Specifically prohibited financial aid, benefits and arrangements include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) an employment arrangement for a prospect's relatives; (2) gift of clothing or equipment; (3) cosigning of loans; (4) providing loans to a prospect's relatives or friends; (5) cash or like items; (6) any tangible items, including merchandise; (7) free or reduced-cost services, rentals or purchases of any type; (8) free or reduced-cost housing; (9) use of personal properties (e.g., car, summer home, boat); (10) any tangible or intangible gifts; (11) use of an institution's athletics equipment; or (12) sponsorship of or arrangement for an awards banquet for high school, preparatory school or two-year college athletes by an institution, representatives of its athletics interests, or its alumni groups or booster clubs.

*DO NOT provide to a prospect or a prospect's parents, relatives, guardian(s) or friends any amount of money for entertainment.

*DO NOT establish any fund for the purpose of recruiting prospects. If you wish to contribute to such efforts, please make a tax-deductible gift to the MSU Bulldog Club. All funds for recruiting must be administered by the MSU athletic department.

*DO NOT transport or arrange for the transport of a prospect or a prospect's parents, relatives, guardian(s) or friends, or pay or arrange for the payment of transportation costs incurred by a prospect or a prospect's parents, relatives, guardian(s) or friends.

*DO NOT provide free or reduced-cost tickets to a prospect or a prospect's parents, relatives, guardian(s) or friends for MSU home or away games or any other athletic or non-athletic event.

*DO NOT pay, in whole or in part, or lend funds for, the payment of registration fees for a prospect to attend an MSU summer sports camp.

*DO NOT entertain, provide tickets, gifts or other benefits to a junior or senior high school, preparatory school, or two-year college coach at any time.

*DO feel free to attend junior or senior high school, preparatory school, or two-year college athletic events. While the NCAA rules do not prohibit mere attendance, they do prohibit contact with a prospect or a prospect"s parents, relatives or legal guardian(s) while in attendance. If you find yourself sitting next to a parent, relative or legal guardian of the prospect, please refrain from conversation regarding the MSU athletics program. If conversation is initiated with you, respond in a civil manner but avoid discussion of the MSU athletics program. Please refer all questions regarding the MSU athletics program to an MSU coaching staff member.

*DO feel free to engage in your normal daily activities. NCAA rules do no prohibit unavoidable incidental contact with a prospect or a prospect's parents, relatives or legal guardian(s). If you bump into a prospect or a prospect's parents, relatives or guardian(s), you may exchange greetings, but refrain from discussing the MSU athletics program. If you have a prior and established relationship with a prospect or a prospect's parents, relatives or guardian(s), you may proceed with this relationship, but please remember that only authorized MSU athletic department staff members are permitted to be involved in the recruitment of prospects.

*DO feel free to offer your assistance to any MSU coach who is recruiting in your area. Their recruiting efforts may often be advanced by assistance such as providing them with transportation or providing them with the names of people to contact regarding certain prospects.


II. MSU STUDENT-ATHLETES

*DO NOT provide any extra benefit or special arrangement to provide an MSU student-athlete or his or her parents, relatives, guardian(s) or friends with a benefit. Such benefits include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) a special discount, payment arrangement or credit on a purchase (e.g., airline ticket, clothing) or a service (e.g., laundry, tailoring), (2) professional services (for which a fee normally would be charged) without charge or at a reduced cost, (3) the use of a telephone or credit card for personal reasons without charge or at a reduced cost, (4) services (e.g., movie tickets, dinners, use of car) from commercial agencies (e.g., movie theaters, restaurants, car dealers) without charge or at reduced rates, (5) free or reduced-cost admission to amateur or professional athletics contests, (6) a loan of money, (7) a guarantee of bond, (8) the use of an automobile, (9) signing or cosigning a note with an outside agency to arrange a loan, and (10) any benefit associated with off-campus housing (e.g., television set, stereo equipment, room furnishings), (11) the use of personal properties (e.g., boat, summer home), and (11) any tangible or intangible gifts.

*DO NOT provide to an MSU student-athlete preferential treatment, benefits or services for his or her athletics reputation or skill or pay-back potential as a future professional athlete.

*DO NOT provide to an MSU student-athlete any amount of money for the purpose of paying expenses incidental to his or her participation in an amateur athletic competition. For example, you may not sponsor a golfer or tennis player who competes in pro-am competition over the summer.

*DO NOT provide to an MSU student-athlete or a student-athlete's parents, relatives, guardian(s) or friends any amount of money for entertainment.

*DO NOT provide to an MSU student-athlete any amount of money for any costs associated with his or her status as a student at MSU.

*DO NOT provide to an MSU student-athlete or a student-athlete's parents, relatives, guardian(s) or friends room, board or transportation.

*DO NOT use the name or picture of an MSU student-athlete to directly advertise, recommend or promote the sale or use of a commercial product or service of any kind, as such will render the student-athlete ineligible for future participation in intercollegiate athletics.

*DO feel free to invite an MSU student-athlete or the entire team to your home for dinner. The NCAA rules permit you to provide such a dinner if it is restricted to infrequent and special occasions. However, you must make arrangements before doing so with the MSU Compliance Office and an MSU coaching staff member.


III. EMPLOYMENT OF PROSPECTS AND MSU STUDENT-ATHLETES

*DO NOT provide or arrange for the provision of employment to a prospect or MSU student-athlete at any time without first obtaining authorization from the MSU Compliance Office and completing the necessary documentation. While the NCAA rules permit student-athletes to secure employment, there are specific restrictions as to the amount a student-athlete may earn and the manner in which it is earned. Thus, to ensure that the MSU student-athlete employment program maintains the highest degree of integrity and fully complies with NCAA rules, you as the employer must abide by several conditions and procedures.

*DO NOT provide or arrange for the provision of employment to a prospect prior to the completion of his or her senior year in high school.

*DO NOT provide to a prospect or MSU student-athlete any remuneration for the value or utility that he or she may have because of the publicity, reputation, fame or personal following he or she has obtained because of athletics ability.

*DO NOT provide to a prospect or MSU student-athlete compensation for work that has not been performed or at a rate higher than the going rate in your locality for similar services.

*DO feel free to provide or arrange for the provision of employment to prospects and MSU student-athletes after first obtaining authorization from the MSU Compliance Office.


IV. ALUMNI EVENTS/SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS/HONORARIES

*DO NOT invite junior or senior high school or two-year college student-athletes to alumni events, as NCAA rules prohibit contact between a prospect and an alumnus or other representative of athletics interests.

*DO NOT invite your son or daughter or any other guest to an alumni event if he or she is a student-athlete at the junior or senior high school or two-year college level. He or she would therefore be considered a prospect, and the NCAA rules prohibit contact between a prospect and an alumnus or other representative of athletics interests.

*DO notify MSU coaches and other athletics department staff members invited to speak at alumni events if junior or senior high school or two-year college student-athletes will be in attendance. NCAA rules prohibit contact between a prospect and a coach during certain time periods.

*DO NOT invite an MSU student-athlete to attend and/or participate in any event in which he or she will speak or be honored for his or her athletic accomplishments without first obtaining authorization from the MSU Compliance Office.
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