Blitz is a football student-athlete at Ocean State University. During last night’s game, Blitz recorded three sacks on one of the country’s best quarterbacks. The head coach gave Blitz the game ball for his outstanding performance. Was that permissible?
Yes. NCAA Staff Interpretation- 9/13/13- Recognition of Accomplishments in a Particular Contest or Event (I)- states that an institution may provide a memento of nominal value (e.g., game ball, t-shirt, hat, etc.), which may not include cash or cash equivalents, to a student-athlete in recognition of an accomplishment in a particular contest or event as a benefit incidental to participation.
[References: 16.1.4 (types of awards, awarding agencies, maximum value and numbers of awards) and a staff interpretation (11/27/96, item a), which has been archived]