- Information for Boosters and Fans
- What is a Booster?
- Interaction With Student-Athletes
- Interaction With Prospective Student-Athletes
The Florida State University athletic department has enjoyed tremendous success over the past fifty years. Much of this success can be attributed to the Seminole student-athletes, coaches and administration who strive to make Florida State a model athletics program nationally, both on and off the field of competition. However, another key component to FSU's success has been the tremendous support that FSU alumni, boosters and friends of the athletic program have given the Seminoles. The university is proud of the financial support demonstrated by all of our boosters, but is equally impressed by the efforts to abide by National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) rules regarding college athletics.
The commitment to excellence by the entire FSU athletics family must be a priority in all aspects of the program. This commitment includes understanding and complying with NCAA, ACC and university rules. Everyone involved in FSU athletics programs is required to know the rules, and recognize this responsibility as a team effort. We want to continue our winning ways, but at Florida State, it is important to win the right way - and that means following the NCAA rules.
We have one motto in compliance: “Ask Before You Act!”
The following information below is designed to be read by all fans of the Seminoles, therefore please take time to read it and if you have any questions or concerns please call 850-644-4272 & please follow us on Twitter @FSUCompliance for all your up to date compliance news!
Boosters are referred to by the NCAA as “Representatives of Athletics Interests.” Under NCAA rules, a representative of the institution's athletics interest is any individual that has ever:
- Promoted the FSU athletics program
- Made a financial contribution to FSU athletics, Seminole Boosters or any FSU booster organization (e.g., Seminole Club)
- Assisted in any manner in the recruitment of prospective student-athletes
- Provided benefits (e.g., a job, occasional meals) to enrolled student-athletes
- Purchased season tickets for any FSU athletics program
- Been a former FSU student-athlete
Once a booster, always a booster! It is important to remember that it is very easy to meet one of these criterion and once an individual has been identified as a booster, he or she retains that status forever. Under NCAA rules, Florida State is responsible for all actions of its athletics representatives. Please be sure to contact the FSU Compliance Office at (850) 644-4272 if you have any questions about your booster status.
Please know that it is permissible to call, have in-person contact, and correspond with current FSU student-athletes. Compliance understands that Boosters build special and long lasting relationships with student-athletes that will carry on well after they graduate, but please understand that there are very few benefits that a booster may provide to a student-athlete. Please read below for what is permissible and not permissible for a booster to do with current FSU student-athletes.
Extra Benefit: An extra benefit occurs when a student-athlete receives a benefit that is unavailable to the general public or another group (e.g., students) and was only provided to them because of their status as a student-athlete. Please understand that no matter how big ($1000) or small ($5) the benefit received by a student-athlete is it will make them automatically ineligible for competition. They will need to be reinstated by the NCAA and may have to repay the cost of the benefit and sit out from competition. An individual or booster who has provided a student-athlete with a benefit may be disassociated from the Athletics Department.
Extra benefits can include, but, are not limited to:
- Free or unadvertised discounts for services, purchases or rentals (e.g. legal services, car repair, food and drink – including booster tailgates, gym memberships, private workouts)
- Money, gifts, clothing, tickets for entertainment, haircut, and use of a car
- Free or reduced-cost rent or housing
- Use of an automobile or rides/transportation
- Typing or editing reports, papers, letters, etc. for a student-athlete
- Payment for work not actually performed
- A loan of money or co-signing on a loan
- The sale or trade of complimentary admissions, awards, apparel, memorabilia or autographed
- Free meals, drinks or cover/admission to nightclubs or events (e.g., draft parties)
As a booster, below are examples of permissible benefits you may provide to student-athletes with compliance permission:
- Employment: It is permissible to employ a student-athlete during the school year and/or the summer. However, please contact compliance prior to employing a student-athlete as the following rules must be met:
- Employment must be organized in the same manner as the general public
- Compensation must be comparable to the going rate for similar services in the location of the job and cannot be provided based on student-athlete’s reputation or fame
- May only be paid for work actually performed
- A business may not use a student-athlete to promote their business
Occasional Meal: It is permissible to provide a student-athlete or an entire team with an occasional meal at your home, on FSU campus or at facility used for practice/competition. This meal may not take place at a restaurant but it may be catered and you may provide local transportation to the site of the meal. Please be sure to get pre-approval by the Compliance Office by downloading and submitting this form.
Who is a prospective student-athlete?: A prospective student-athlete (e.g., prospect, recruit, PSA) is any individual who has started classes for the ninth grade. In men’s basketball, an individual who has started classes for the seventh grade is considered a prospect. In addition, individuals enrolled in preparatory school or two-year colleges are also considered prospective student-athletes.
What Role Can Boosters Play in Recruiting Prospects?: Leave the recruiting up to the coaches! Seminole fans and boosters are prohibited from any involvement in recruiting activities. FSU coaches and athletics department staff members are the only individuals permitted to be involved in the recruiting process.
- Boosters may not doing the following:
- Telephone call a prospect
- Publicly or privately message (e.g., email, Facebook, Twitter) a prospect
- Make in-person on- or off-campus recruiting contact with a prospect
- Contact a prospect during their official or unofficial recruiting visit
- Visit prospect’s educational institution to pick-up transcripts or game film or discuss prospects with teachers, coaches and counsellors
- Pay or arrange any benefits for a prospect at any time (e.g., transportation, gifts, camp registration)
- Arrange for payment of secondary educational expenses (e.g., private or prep tuition, private tutors)
- Boosters may:
- Watch a prospect’s athletic contest on own initiative
- Notify university coaching staff members or staff about noteworthy prospects in the area
- Accept phone calls from prospective student-athletes. Boosters may speak with PSAs only if the PSA initiates the call and the call is not for a recruiting purpose. The booster must refer all questions about the athletic program to FSU athletic department staff.
What does it mean to be committed?: Don’t confuse a “verbal commitment” with what the NCAA considers to be “committed.” Per NCAA rules, a prospective student-athlete becomes “committed” to the university upon:
- Signing a National Letter of Intent (NLI) and/or financial aid agreement (e.g., GIA or FAA) OR
- After the institution has received his/her financial deposit in response to its offer of admission
As soon as one of these criteria is met, the institution (e.g., coaches & staff) is no longer subject to certain recruiting restrictions (e.g., telephone calls, text messaging, contacts, evaluations and publicity) for that specific prospective student-athlete. However, the individual still remains a prospective student-athlete for purposes of applying all other NCAA rules.
When does a prospective student-athlete become a student-athlete?:
- A prospective student-athlete becomes a student-athlete when one of the following occurs:
- Registers and enrolls in a minimum full-time program of studies and attends classes in any term of four-year institution’s regular academic year
- Participates in a regular squad practice or competition at a four-year institution that occurs before the beginning of any term
- Officially registers, enrolls, and attends classes during the summer prior to initial enrollment
- Attends an institutional orientation session that is open to all incoming students within 14 calendar days prior to the start of the regular academic year
When one of these criteria is met, the prospective student-athlete is now considered a current FSU student-athlete. The individual is now subject to different NCAA legislation. Please refer to the benefits that a booster may provide to a student-athlete and check with the Compliance Office if you have any questions.
May I use social media to contact a prospect?: Only coaches and Athletics Department staff members may be involved in the recruitment of prospects. All boosters are not allowed to contact a prospect for the purpose of encouraging their participation in FSU’s athletics program. This extends to social media websites, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Below are the guidelines for communication via social media outlets:
- Boosters may not post on a prospects Facebook page or similar site and try to convince them to attend FSU
- Boosters may not create online groups dedicated to soliciting or encouraging a prospect to attend FSU. This is still impressible even if the group members do not directly contact the prospect
- Booster may follow prospects on Twitter but not retweet, @Tweet or direct message a prospect
The FSU Compliance Office has an acronym ABYA, please Ask Before You Act and contact us at (850) 644-4272 with any questions about NCAA rules or if you just want to chat about college athletics, we’re here for that too because we also bleed Garnet & Gold! Go Noles!