NCAA Education: Scholarship as Award

NCAA Educational Column

Date Published: August 8, 2012

NCAA Division I member institutions should note that awards received by an individual prior to initial collegiate enrollment are permissible, provided the awards conform to the rules of the amateur sports organization that governs the applicable competition and do not include cash, or items redeemable for cash, in excess of actual and necessary expenses. However, institutions should note that such awards remain subject to all other requirements of the legislation.

For example, a prospective student-athlete may receive educational expenses or services prior to collegiate enrollment from any individual or entity other than an agent, professional sports team/organization, member institution or representative of athletics interests, provided the payment for such expenses or services is disbursed directly to the individual, organization or educational institution (e.g., high school, preparatory school) providing the educational expense or service. Therefore, it is permissible for a prospective student-athlete to receive a scholarship to attend a high school as an award for winning a tournament, provided the scholarship comes from a permissible source and is disbursed directly to the high school.

Also, a scholarship awarded by a permissible source that will be used toward educational expenses at a member institution (i.e., after collegiate enrollment) is subject to the requirements governing financial aid from outside sources.

Finally, institutions should note that such scholarships may not include costs associated with athletics training (e.g., training academy tuition). General training expenses are permissible only if approved and provided directly by the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) or the appropriate national governing body in the sport (or, for international student-athletes, the equivalent organization of that nation).

[References: Bylaws (educational expenses or services — prior to collegiate enrollment.), (benefits from prospective agents), (exception for training expenses), (financial aid from an established and continuing program) and (prior to enrollment); and a staff interpretation (11/9/94, Item No. a)]

Notice about Educational Columns: Educational columns and hot topics are intended to assist the membership with the correct application of legislation and/or interpretations by providing clarifications, reminders and examples. They are based on legislation and official and staff interpretations applicable at the time of publication. Therefore, educational columns and hot topics are binding to the extent that the legislation and interpretations on which they are based remain applicable. Educational columns are posted on a regular basis to address a variety of issues and hot topics are posted as necessary in order to address timely issues.

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