Clarification from NCAA regarding schools covering expenses for student-athletes in prize money events

9/19/02 - On occasion the ITA will request interpretations from NCAA Membership Services on issues and rules on behalf of the ITA Membership. A number of coaches over the summer had indicated to the ITA that they had received conflicting interpretations regarding whether an institution may cover the expenses of its student-athletes competing as amateurs in events which provide prize money (and involve professionals) during the academic year. Upon review and approval from the ITA Division I Operating Committee, the ITA requested an official and definitive interpretation from the NCAA. 

Subsequently, the ITA has been informed by the NCAA that an institution may cover the expenses of its student-athletes competing as amateurs in events which provide prize-money (and involve professionals) provided the event occurs during the playing season, is considered a date of competition, and the student-athlete is representing the institution (the relevant Bylaw is #16.8.1.2).

We hope that this clarification proves helpful to our membership. Also, please note that while in special circumstances the ITA may be able to provide assistance in seeking clarification and interpretations of NCAA legislation, coaches should always first contact their athletic department's compliance officers, and/or Conference administrators.