Flip Turn is a swimming prospect that will be initially enrolling full-time in college at Ocean State University this fall. A week before Flip begins classes, he is going to compete in an open event. His outside team will be paying actual and necessary expenses and the sponsors are awarding prize money for the top finishers in each event.
If Flip earns prize money, is he permitted to accept it?
Since Flip’s team is covering his actual and necessary expenses, it would not be permissible for him to accept any prize money based on place finish. NCAA Staff Interpretation- 7/26/12-Receipt of Prize Money Prior to Full-Time Collegiate Enrollment for Team Competition — Sports Other Than Tennis (I)- states that in sports other than tennis, prior to full-time collegiate enrollment, an individual may accept prize money based on place finish or performance in an open individual or team event (an event that is not invitation only), provided such prize money does not exceed actual and necessary expenses and is provided only by the sponsor of the open event. For example, an individual competing on a three-person basketball team as part of a three-on-three tournament may accept prize money up to the value of actual and necessary expenses that he or she incurred. However, if the team pays the actual and necessary expenses of its members, individual team members may not accept any prize money.
[References: NCAA Division I Bylaws 126.96.36.199.1 (exception for prize money prior to full-time collegiate enrollment – sports other than tennis) and 188.8.131.52.2 (exception for prize money prior to full-time collegiate enrollment – tennis); staff interpretation (11/17/04, item 1b), which has been archived]