Ocean State University (OSU) travel coordinator has begun researching travel options for the football, men’s and women’s basketball student-athletes that will be traveling to and from campus during the Christmas vacation period due to participation in competitions. If some of the student-athletes choose to go home after the competition instead of returning to campus, can OSU pay those expeneses?
With the adoption of RWG-16-7, an institution may use its discretion to determine if actual and necessary expenses are incidental to a student-athlete’s participation in practice and competition activities, including travel expenses for a student-athlete that does not use team transportation. NCAA Educational Column- 11/14/13- Travel Expenses for Practice and Competition (I) – states that NCAA Division I member institutions should note that, with the adoption of NCAA Division I Proposal No. RWG-16-7, an institution may provide actual and necessary expenses to a student-athlete to represent the institution in practice and competition, including travel expenses incidental to practice or competition. This provides member institutions flexibility when determining which travel expenses may be reasonably considered incidental to practice or competition, including expenses for student-athletes who do not travel with the team to or from competition during vacation periods (e.g., travel from the competition site to home prior to returning to campus) and travel to the institution for purposes of engaging in required practice activities after the student-athlete’s initial arrival on campus for the academic year. Institutions should note the following specific limitations when applying the legislation governing travel for practice or competition:
1. To receive competition-related expenses, the student-athlete must be eligible for the away-from-home competition, even if practice activities will also be associated with the travel.
2. An institution may provide travel expenses only if the student-athlete actually incurs such expenses.
3. Travel expenses must be based on the transportation actually used by the student-athlete.
4. An institution may not provide expenses for a prospective student-athlete’s initial arrival at the institution except for transportation from the nearest bus or train station or major airport to the campus. A continuing student-athlete may not receive expenses for his or her initial arrival at the institution for each academic year.
5. In bowl subdivision football, an institution may not provide expenses to a student-athlete who is a midyear enrollee (freshman or transfer) for participation in a postseason bowl game that occurs before or during the student-athlete’s initial term of full-time enrollment at the institution.
Finally, an institution may not provide a student-athlete cash for anticipated travel expenses unless the amount provided does not exceed the student-athlete’s actual travel costs and institutional policies and procedures applicable to all student-athletes permit providing cash for travel expenses prior to the student-athlete incurring the expense.
[References: NCAA Division I Bylaws 13.5.4 (transportation to enroll or to attend required orientation), 16.8 (expenses provided by the institution for practice and competition), 16.8.1 (permissible), 22.214.171.124 (incidental expenses at NCAA championships, national governing body championships in emerging sports and postseason bowl games), 16.8.2 (nonpermissible), 126.96.36.199 (expenses for participation in postseason bowl games – midyear enrollee – bowl subdivision football) and 188.8.131.52 (other prohibited benefits)]
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