Recently, we have been receiving a lot of emails regarding NCAA rules as they relate to what is, and what is not an improper financial benefit.
The most simple answer when it comes to NCAA rules is almost always the correct answer. For this and any other rule.
An Improper Financial Benefit is when an student athlete receives “anything of value” without paying for that thing. In other words, you can not receive any good or services without paying for them.
This includes paying for adviser services. And it includes paying for camps, clinics, lessons, or equipment. It even includes receiving a free soda from the snack bar at the rink.
If something you receive has a dollar value to it, you can not accept it for free. There is no gray area on this and if you break this rule, you are more likely to get caught than to get away with it.
A few years back a Tier II junior team was bringing in players to try out during the season. Those players would stay at the team billet homes. When NCAA compliance officers found out that those players did not pay for billeting when they were called up, those players had to immediately come up with the money to pay the billets or face suspension.
Recently a player was caught attending more than one Major Junior camp and not paying for his time at the camp. He had to pay for his second camp or he would have lost one year of eligibility.
If anything looks and sounds to good to be true, it probably is. Nothing is free. If you are offered something for free, remember that you may end up paying for it later.
When it comes to the NCAA, you are the one responsible for making sure you remain compliant. The NCAA can not regulate your adviser, your team, or anyone else that may make you an improper financial offer. It is you, who will pay the price for the choices you make.
Its always better to just pay the bill than it is to risk paying with eligibility in the future.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser