Compliance

Compliance Question of the Week

For the week of: April 21, 2010

Question:
What are our limitations when announcing prospective student-athletes (PSAs) who sign a National Letter of Intent or accepted written of admission and/or financial aid from the institution?


Answer:
An institution may announce the name of all prospective student-athletes (PSAs) who have signed a National Letter of Intent or accepted written offers of admission and/or financial aid from the institution in one formal press conference as stated in Bylaw 13.10.9.2. An institution cannot purchase or receive commercial advertising (i.e. print, media, or billboard) to use to identify a PSA by name or picture as stated in Bylaw 13.10.9.

An institution may make an unlimited number of press releases or news stories about prospects once they have signed an NLI or a written offer of admission or financial aid. The limit on announcing signings pertains only to press conferences, not press releases, news stories, or website updates.

In order to include any recruiting material, highlight videos or information related to prospects on an athletics department staff member's personal site, it must be permissible to include such material and information on the institution's athletics Web site. Similarly, information that is permitted to be listed on the institution's athletics website may be permitted to be listed on Facebook, Twitter, and other similar websites such as a staff member's personal site.

As long as there is no involvement by the institution, a PSA or the PSA's family may be permitted to hold a press conference to announce the PSA's signing with the institution.


13.10.9 Media Releases Regarding Signing.
Publicity released by an institution concerning a prospective student-athlete's commitment to attend the institution shall occur only after the prospective student-athlete has signed a National Letter of Intent or after the prospective student-athlete's signed acceptance of the institution's written offer of admission and/or financial aid. Such communications (with no limit on number or content) may be released to media outlets at the institution's discretion except as limited by Bylaw 13.10.9.2. However, an institution is prohibited from purchasing or receiving commercial advertising (e.g., print, media or billboard) to be used to identify a prospective student-athlete by name or picture. Violations of this bylaw do not affect a prospective student-athlete's eligibility and are considered institutional violations per Constitution 2.8.1. (Revised: 1/14/97, 4/29/04 effective 8/1/04, 8/25/04)

13.10.9.2 Announcement of All Signings.
An institution may conduct one formal press conference on the institution's campus for the purpose of presenting the names of all prospective student-athletes in a sport who have signed a National Letter of Intent or accepted written offers of admission and/or financial aid from the institution, with the understanding that no prospective student-athletes (or their friends or relatives) may be in attendance at such an announcement. (Adopted: 8/25/04, Revised: 4/1/05, 1/14/08)

13.10.9.3 Independent Announcement by Prospective Student-Athlete.
Press conferences to announce a signing may be arranged independently by the prospective student-athlete (or the prospective student-athlete's family), provided there is no arrangement or involvement whatsoever by the institution or representatives of its athletics interests.

13.10.9.5 Signings On Campus.
An institution is responsible for signings on its campus (whether involving an individual or a group of prospective student-athletes). Any contact by the media with prospective student-athletes on campus during the time the prospective student-athlete signs a National Letter of Intent or tender of financial aid shall be considered to be prima facie evidence of institutional involvement in arranging media involvement and shall be prohibited.

Content of Athletics Department Staff Members' Personal Web Sites and Nonathletics Institutional Web Sites
Date Published: March 14, 2007
Type: Official Interpretation
Item Ref: 1
The committee confirmed that it is permissible for a institution's Web site or an athletics department staff member's personal Web site (or personal page on any site) to include information related to the institution's athletics programs, subject to the restrictions applicable to an institution's athletics Web site. For example, in order to include any recruiting material, highlight videos or information related to prospects on an athletics department staff member's personal site, it must be permissible to include such material and information on the institution's athletics Web site. Further, it is not permissible for an institution's Web site or an athletics department staff member's personal Web site (or personal page on any site) to include a hyperlink to the Web site of a recruiting/scouting service or a noninstitutional publication that reports primarily on the institution's athletics program. Finally, it is permissible for general informational video content related to an institution's athletics programs to appear on institutional Web sites (athletics and nonathletics) and personal Web sites of athletics department staff members, provided such content is generally accessible to the general public (e.g., not included in a separate recruiting section) and is not created for recruiting purposes.


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