NCAA Compliance




Carrying on the tradition of excellence is hard work, and competition among the best institutions is intense. Searching for a competitive edge is part of the challenge, and meeting that challenge means playing by the rules. The NCAA has rules for coaches, the players and YOU! We know that you want to help Big Red Athletics and be a part of a winning team. Following these rules will help us achieve our goals.

Cornell is responsible for making sure that everyone involved with its athletic program knows the rules. Cornell will be held accountable for any rule broken by anyone representing it (Bylaw 6.4.2).



You are a “representative of athletics interest,” commonly referred to as a “booster,” if you have ever (Bylaw 13.02.14):

  • Been a member of a sport support group or booster club.
  • Made a donation to Cornell Athletics.
  • Promoted Cornell Athletics in any way.
  • Arranged or provided employment for enrolled student-athletes.

Once you have been identified as a “representative of athletics interest,” you retain the title forever.


A “prospective student-athlete” is any person who has begun ninth grade classes (Bylaw 13.02.12). In certain circumstances, younger student-athletes can be prospects as well. A person remains a prospect until the first day of enrollment or until the first day he or she reports for collegiate practice, whichever is earlier. At this point, the student becomes an enrolled student-athlete. It is recommended that you treat all student-athletes as prospects until they are enrolled and attending a four year institution. All recruiting of prospective student-athletes must be done by Cornell coaching staff (Bylaw


Recruiting is any solicitation of a prospect or prospect’s family or legal guardian by an institutional staff member or RAI for the purpose of securing the prospect’s enrollment and ultimate participation in the institution’s intercollegiate athletics program (Bylaw 13.02.13).

In general, RAIs are PROHIBITED from having contact with prospects, or their legal guardians, in order to encourage them to participate in Cornell’s athletic program (Bylaw 13.1.2). This includes, but is not limited to:

  • A face-to-face encounter that is pre-arranged or that takes place on the grounds of a prospect’s educational institution or at the site of organized competition or practice (Bylaw 13.02.4).
  • Contacting a prospect in person on or off Cornell’s campus (Bylaw 13.02.4).
  • Writing or phoning a prospect or a prospect’s family. This includes electronic correspondence (email) and the use of social networking sites (Bylaw & 13.4.1).
  • Contacting a prospect’s coach, principal or guidance counselor to evaluate the prospect (Bylaw
  • Making arrangements for a prospect or his or her family to receive money or financial aid of any kind (Bylaw 15.01.3).

As a RAI, you MAY:

  • Talk to a prospective student-athlete if the prospect initiates a phone call to you, but you must refer all recruiting conversations to the respective Cornell coach (Bylaw
  • Attend a high school awards banquet, as long as no recruiting contact is made with a prospect.
  • Provide lodging, meals and transportation to coaches when they are recruiting in your area (Interp. 12/30/1988).
  • Observe a prospect’s athletic contest, as long as no contact is made with the prospect, the prospect’s family, coach or other persons associated with the prospect (Bylaw

NOTE: If a family friend or neighbor is a prospect, you may continue to maintain your relationship; however, you may NOT have an athletics recruiting conversation (Bylaw (d)).


Prospective and enrolled student-athletes may not be given extra benefits.

An “extra benefit” is any special arrangement that provides a student-athlete or prospect, or his or her family or friends, a benefit not expressly authorized by NCAA legislation (Bylaw 16.02.3). Examples of extra benefits include, but are not limited to the following (Bylaws,

  • Cash or loans in any amount, including the use of a credit card.
  • Free or reduced-cost services.
  • Gifts of any kind.
  • Use of personal items such as an automobile or telephone.
  • Free or reduced-rent housing.
  • Free tickets to a prospect or a prospect’s family or friends to an athletic event.
  • Summer housing/transportation for a student-athlete with eligibility remaining or for a prospect during the summer prior to enrollment at Cornell.
  • Paid entertainment, on or off campus, for a prospect, student-athlete, or their family or legal guardian.

Limited Exception: On infrequent occasion, you may invite enrolled student-athletes for an occasional meal 1) in your home (reasonable transportation may be provided), 2) at a location on campus, or 3) in a facility that is regularly used for home competition. In all cases, meals can be catered (Bylaw Make sure you have permission from the Compliance Office before extending the invitation. An occasional meal approval form is available on our website at:


Q. May I employ a prospect or a current student-athlete?
A. Generally speaking, arrangements to employ a prospect can be made after the prospect has committed to our institution. Actual employment can begin only after he or she has graduated from high school (Bylaw Current student-athletes may also be employed. In either case, the following guidelines must be met:

  1. Compensation is paid only for work actually performed;
  2. Compensation is at the going rate in that locality for similar services (Bylaw 12.4.1);
  3. Employment cannot be based on the utility that the student-athlete may have for the employer based on his or her athletics reputation (Bylaw12.4.1.1). REMINDER: You may not use the name, picture, or appearance of a student-athlete to advertise, recommend or promote the sale or use of a commercial entity or item (Bylaw;
  4. Benefits cannot be provided that wouldn’t otherwise be available to all employees (i.e., ride to/from work, housing) (Bylaw

The above rules do not preclude you from hiring a prospect through your normal employment procedures so long as you are unaware of their status as a prospect (Bylaw To ensure all rules are being met, you are strongly encouraged to contact the Compliance Office before hiring a prospect or current student-athlete.

Q. May I contact high school coaches or guidance counselors directly regarding a prospect?
A. No, you may not have contact with a prospect or anyone associated with the prospect (i.e., parents, coaches, etc.) for recruiting purposes (Bylaw

Q. What should I do if a prospect contacts me?
A. Please explain to the prospect that NCAA rules preclude you from discussing the athletic program and refer them to the respective coach at Cornell (Bylaw 13.1.2..4(a)).

Q. May I attend a high school game, and speak with a prospect’s parents prior to or during the game?
A. You may attend the high school game of a prospect. However, since “contact” with a prospect includes contact with a prospect’s parents and relatives, please understand that you may not speak to the parents or prospect on such an occasion (Bylaw

Q. May I invite a prospective student-athlete to my home to talk about Cornell University?
A. No. Such contact can only be made as part of the institution’s regular admissions program that is directed at all prospective students including non-athletes (Bylaw

Q. Are representatives of athletics interest allowed to help finance a student-athlete’s education?
A. No. Under Ivy and NCAA rules, receipt by a student-athlete of any type of financial assistance from any non-family member or non-institutional source constitutes a rules violation that renders the student-athlete ineligible (Bylaw 15.01.3).

Q. May I use different forms of social networking to contact prospective student-athletes (e.g., Facebook, twitter, blogs)?
A. Any contact, including written contact, with a prospective student-athlete is impermissible. For example, on Facebook you may not post on a prospective student-athlete’s wall or use the email function to send a message. You should not use any form of social network or technology to direct a message to a prospective student-athlete (Bbylaw

Q. If my neighbor happens to be a prospective student-athlete, and I would like him/her to attend Cornell, what should I do?
A. Normal contact with family friends, relatives, or neighbors is allowed; however, contact for the purpose of recruiting them to Cornell for participation in athletics programs is not permissible (Bylaw You should refer the prospect to the appropriate coach at Cornell or tell the coach about the prospect.

Updated: 06/22/16