Attention Aggie Fans:
Texas A&M needs your help. One of the most economical yet effective ways to invest in Texas A&M is by following the rules when interacting with prospective student-athletes (i.e., PSAs), as well as their coaches, teachers and relatives. By doing so, you can help Texas A&M reduce the likelihood of costly NCAA violations. When in doubt, ask before you act.
Please leave recruiting (whether online, over the phone or in-person) to the professionals, Texas A&M Athletics’ coaches and staff. NCAA rules generally prohibit anyone else from recruiting prospective student-athletes on behalf of Texas A&M Athletics. For example:
• It would not be permissible for a booster, fan, or former student to Tweet at recruits, comment on PSAs’ Facebook profiles, etc. Please refrain from using social networks or other mediums to have recruiting contact with PSAs until the PSA has begun attending Texas A&M.
• Do not contact coaches and/or teachers of PSAs in an attempt to evaluate the academic or athletics ability of a PSA.
• Do not transport a PSA for his/her official or unofficial recruiting visits (i.e., visits to a university that involve interaction with the athletics department).
• Do not pay for a PSA’s admission to a Texas A&M sports camp.
What is a booster/representative of an institution’s athletics interests? This is the NCAA definition:
A “representative of the institution’s athletics interests” is an individual, independent agency, corporate entity (e.g., apparel or equipment manufacturer) or other organization who is known (or who should have been known) by a member of the institution’s executive or athletics administration to:
• Have participated in or to be a member of an agency or organization promoting the institution’s intercollegiate athletics program;
• Have made financial contributions to the athletics department or to an athletics booster organization of that institution;
• Be assisting or to have been requested (by the athletics department staff) to assist in the recruitment of PSAs;
• Be assisting or to have assisted in providing benefits to enrolled student-athletes or their families; or
• Have been involved otherwise in promoting the institution’s athletics program.
Remember that boosters may not recruit prospective student-athletes for Texas A&M Athletics.
Booster Status = Institutional Accountability
If you are a booster/representative of Texas A&M’s athletics interests and you violate NCAA rules, the NCAA may hold Texas A&M responsible and penalize the institution as well as the prospective or current student-athlete for your actions that violate NCAA rules. Please also note that, once an individual triggers booster status within the context of NCAA rules, that individual retains booster status forever.
What if a Booster is Friends with or Related to a Prospect?
Family friends, neighbors, etc. What if you are a Texas A&M fan, former student, and/or booster but also have a non-recruiting reason to interact with a PSA and/or his/her relatives? The NCAA rules make an exception for this. Contacts made with a PSA by an established family friend or neighbor who is also a booster are permissible if they are not made for recruiting purposes and are not initiated by a member of an institution’s coaching staff. How do you know if you have such an established family friendship with the PSA or if you may bring the PSA to a Texas A&M home game? Call Texas A&M Athletics Compliance.
May I Take this PSA to a Texas A&M Game?
“Can I take this kid to the game?” is by far the most common compliance question of former students, fans and members of the 12th Man Foundation. The prevalence of this question is a strong indicator of both the generosity of Aggies and of the importance of providing more Aggies with information on this popular subject.
An example of a typical scenario is as follows. Mr. Aggie phoned in and explained that his grandson’s friend and fellow high school teammate, a prospective student-athlete and potential Texas A&M recruit, want to come to an A&M home game. Mr. Aggie indicated that he has provided his grandson’s friends with tickets and travel to A&M home games for over 10 years. Mr. Aggie indicated that, once in College Station, he may bring his grandson and his friend to his family’s tailgate as well.
The question: is this permissible according to NCAA rules? Yes, it would be permissible because:
• Mr. Aggie has a pre-existing relationship with his grandson’s friends;
• Mr. Aggie’s relationship with the prospective student-athlete does not originate in athletics; it originates in his grandson’s friendship;
• Mr. Aggie did not arrange the proposed benefits; his grandson did;
• Mr. Aggie will be providing benefits that he has consistently provided to his grandson’s friends, irrespective of athletic ability, for several years; and
• Neither Mr. Aggie nor his friends or family will solicit the prospective student-athlete’s participation in athletics at Texas A&M.
The last item is necessary due to NCAA rules that preclude boosters from soliciting the enrollment of a prospect at Texas A&M. If you would like to bring a kid or a teenager who is a prospective student-athlete to the game and you are still unsure if doing so would violate NCAA rules, please contact Athletic Compliance or call 979-845-1904 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if You Are a Booster Who Is Also a Coach/Teacher of PSAs?
Coaches/teachers of PSAs who are also Texas A&M boosters, fans, and/or former students. You may interact as you normally would with the PSAs you coach/teach, but you may do so only in your capacity as the PSA’s coach/teacher, not a Texas A&M fan. You may provide advice about the PSA’s choice of future institution, but it should be objective.
Prospective Student-Athlete Contacts You
What if a PSA or PSA’s relatives call, email, or otherwise attempt to correspond with you? A booster may correspond with or communicate with a PSA or his/her relatives via the telephone or correspondence only if the PSA or his/her relatives initiate the telephone conversation or correspondence and the communication is not for recruiting purposes. Under such circumstances, the booster must refer questions about the institution’s athletics program to the athletics department staff.
What about Facebook and Twitter?
Social media hubs Facebook and Twitter have become major means of communication for college and high school students. They have also become the easiest way to connect and learn about people. What part of these services are permissible for boosters in relation to a PSA?
Initiating or accepting a friend request: not permissible
Posting on the wall of a PSA: not permissible
Commenting on a status, picture, or video of a PSA: not permissible
Like a PSA status, picture, or video: not permissible
Sending a private Facebook message: not permissible
Following a PSA: permissible
Retweet a PSA tweet: permissible
Favorite a PSA tweet: permissible
Quote a PSA tweet: permissible
Mention a PSA in a tweet: permissible
Reply to a PSA tweet: not permissible
Direct Message to a PSA in response to one initiated by PSA: permissible if booster response does not discuss athletics or recruitment
Direct Message to a PSA initiated by booster: not permissible
Interaction with PSAs after Signing with Texas A&M
After a PSA signs a financial aid agreement, NLI or offer of admission with Texas A&M, such an individual is no longer a PSA for purposes of NCAA Bylaws related to in-person contact, correspondence and phone calls; therefore, Texas A&M boosters may have in-person contact with, correspond with, call, and accept calls from such Texas A&M signees. As for PSAs who signed with other institutions, they remain PSAs with respect to Texas A&M; therefore, continue to refrain from any interaction with PSAs who signed with other institutions.
Jobs after signing with Texas A&M
If Texas A&M Athletics asks you to offer a PSA (not his/her relatives) a job, then you may do so but only after the prospect has signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Texas A&M University. The PSA must actually perform the work for which he or she is paid and must not be paid more than others for doing the same work. Prior to a PSA’s signing an NLI with Texas A&M, you may not employ a PSA based on his or her athletics ability or interest in participating in athletics at Texas A&M.
Recruiting Inducements = High Risk of Major Infraction
Boosters, former students and fans may not be involved in making arrangements, giving or offering to give any benefits to a PSA, the PSA’s relatives or friends or the PSA’s coaches or teachers other than as expressly permitted by NCAA regulations-even after a student-athlete has departed Texas A&M or used all of his/her seasons of competition. In short, if what you propose to provide to a PSA, PSA’s relatives or friends or PSA’s coaches or teachers would be given in an effort to influence the PSA’s choice of institution that will not be permissible. Recruiting inducements are serious violations that can result in substantial penalties and costs for the involved NCAA member institution and individuals.
No Extra Benefits
The prohibition on the provision of benefits to PSAs continues even after the PSA attends Texas A&M and becomes a student-athlete. There are some exceptions, but, generally, if a former student provides a benefit to a student-athlete, it will be an extra benefit and render the student-athlete ineligible. Furthermore, even after a student-athlete leaves the institution or exhausts his/her eligibility, the extra benefit rule continues to apply (with reasonable exceptions).
Not for Sale
Do not purchase from or trade with a student-athlete for access to his/her complimentary admissions pass-list (i.e., tickets to his/her games provided by Texas A&M), apparel, awards, or equipment that the student-athlete received because of his/her participation in intercollegiate athletics.
An Aggie Does Not Lie, Cheat or Steal or Tolerate Those Who Do
Please comply with these and other NCAA rules as you do with other rules and restrictions you are subject to but may not agree with. There may be no consequence for you as a fan or former student following a violation of NCAA rules, but there likely will be for the prospective or current student-athlete, the sport program, and Texas A&M. Above all, always remember the Aggie Honor Code.