SwimSwam has partnered with Brad Barnes to bring our readers a new, occasional feature focusing on NCAA compliance. Brad is the Assistant Athletics Director in charge of Athletic Compliance at Texas A&M University and has been an invited speaker at the National Association for Athletics Compliance convention. You can follow his journey through the complex world of NCAA compliance on Twitter @TAMUCompliance.
If you’re an elite prospective student-athlete or enrolled student-athlete on the NCAA level, then depending on your times and what country you are from you might have the opportunity to earn prize money or receive grants for training and competition expenses. The good news? NCAA rules might allow you to accept the prize money and grants for training and competition expenses. The bad news? You also might might not be allowed to accept them. depending on various facts.
Sometimes, it’s easy-peasy, lemon squeezy, but sometimes it’s difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. How should you figure it out? For prospective student-athletes and current student-athletes who have the opportunity to accept prize money or grants for training/competition expenses, contact the NCAA compliance staff for the NCAA university that, respectively, is recruiting you or at which you are enrolled before accepting the money or training/competition expense grant.
The NCAA allows a student-athlete to accept training expenses if the grant is approved and provided directly by your country’s Olympic committee, national governing body or a governmental entity. The NCAA also allows prospective and enrolled student-athletes to accept prize money based on your place of finish if your prize money for a calendar year doesn’t exceed your expenses (no one else’s) for that calendar year and the prize money is provided by the sponsor of the event.
Finally, if you’re really successful in competition, NCAA rules also allow prospective and enrolled student-athletes to accept funds from the USOC pursuant to its Operation Gold program or, for international prospective and enrolled student-athletes, from your country’s national Olympic governing body based on your place of finish in one event per year that is designated as the highest level of international competition for the year by the governing body. But be careful. Contact an NCAA compliance office before accepting the money. Stay in the NCAA-compliant lane of the pool until you’re ready to go pro. Happy holidays!