Swish is a senior basketball student-athlete at Ocean State University (OSU). This weekend Swish has the opportunity to be the first in OSU history to score 2000 points. When he reaches this milestone, the coaches would like to give Swish a game ball for his accomplishment. Is this 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awarding agencies, maximum value and numbers of awards) and a staff interpretation (11/27/96, item a), which has been archived]