One of the assistant women’s soccer coaches at Ocean State University (OSU) is the head coach for a regional soccer training club. The club team will be competing in a national tournament later this month. The OSU coach will be coaching the team but would also like to recruit while attending the tournament. The OSU coach’s expenses will be paid for by the training club.
Is this permissible?
No. NCAA Educational Column- 2/14/13-Institution Providing Recruiting Expenses to Coach While Acting in Capacity for State, Regional, National or International Training Programs (I)– states that Division I institutions should note that an institution’s coach may participate in recognized state, regional, national or international training programs or competition organized and administered by the applicable governing body, provided the coach is selected by the applicable governing body and the participants are selected by an authority or a committee of the applicable governing body that is not limited to athletics department staff members affiliated with one institution.
The following information is intended to assist the membership with the application of legislation governing state, regional, national or international training programs (“training program”).
Question No. 1: May an institution’s coach engage in recruiting activities while attending competition in conjunction with the coach’s role in a training program if the coach is receiving expenses from the training program?
Answer: No. If the training program is paying expenses associated with the coach attending the competition (e.g., transportation, lodging, meals), the institution’s recruiting activities would be subsidized by the training program. Such subsidization is not permitted. However, the training program may pay expenses that are unique to the coach’s participation in the training program or compensate the coach for his or her participation (e.g., fees associated with event participation, going rate for coaching services) without subsidizing institutional recruiting activities. Providing such expenses or compensation is permissible because such expenditures (or compensation) would not have been necessary had the coach attended the competition solely for recruiting purposes.
Question No. 2: May an institution’s coach engage in recruiting activities while attending competition in conjunction with the coach’s role in a training program if the training program will not provide expenses, but expenses may be reimbursed by the institution?
Answer: Normally, it would not be permissible for a coach to use his or her funds for recruiting on behalf of the institution. However, the coach may engage in recruiting activities and receive reimbursement of expenses first outlayed by the coach, provided the expenditures are preapproved in general (e.g., recruiting trip is preapproved, as opposed to each specific expenditure being preapproved) and the preapproval is consistent with institutional policies. Under this scenario, the expenses are permissible because the institution has control over the funds expended for recruiting activities on its behalf.
Institutions should note that, while it is permissible for institutional funds to support a national team or training program, it is not permissible to make a donation, directly or indirectly, to a local training center that involves a student-athlete from that institution or any prospective student-athletes.
Question No. 3: Does the analysis change if the coach is acting on behalf of a local sports club instead of a state, regional, national or international training program while attending the competition?
Answer: Yes. An institution is not permitted to sponsor or subsidize a local sports club. Therefore, the institution is not permitted to provide any expenses that would offset expenses otherwise incurred by the local sports club, including the cost of the coach’s attendance in his or her capacity as the local sports club coach. In contrast, an institution is permitted to contribute to a national team or a state, regional, national or international training program.
[References: NCAA Division I Bylaws 13.11.1 (prohibited activities), 126.96.36.199.3 (institutional sponsorship of local sports clubs), 188.8.131.52 (state, regional, national or international training programs) and 13.14.1 (institutional control); staff interpretation (8/7/92, Item No. 9-a-), staff interpretation (8/22/07, Item No. 3), and educational columns (3/1/12, Item No. 3) and (11/7/12, Item No. 1)]