College and University NCAA booster clubs are very similar to high school booster clubs. Their goals are primarily the same. Both want to help raise money for school programs at risk of budget cuts, and both are run by volunteers. While they may have similar intentions, the way they work is notably different.
In this article we will cover:
- How booster clubs support college student-athletes
- Why student athletic programs are important
- How booster clubs support college sports
- How to become a member of a booster club
- The differences between college and high school booster clubs
- What does the NCAA have to do with college booster clubs?
- NCAA rules for student-athletes
- NCAA booster clubs rules for members
- How to create a booster club
How Do NCAA Booster Clubs Support College Student-Athletes?
University booster clubs are usually composed of students, parents and school staff. They hold meetings to discuss prospective members for the athletic programs at the college. They also keep an eye out for good athletes in the local high school sports programs. By doing so, they can know who to recruit to the college.
Why Are Student Athletic Programs So Important To Colleges?
College athletic programs are a multi-billion dollar industry that helps to build the college brand and reputation. While media rights, ticket sales, branding, and direct program donations contribute a vast majority of the funding, a lot of it comes from the non-athlete students too.
While choosing a college to attend, almost half of the students will look towards the social benefits. Schools with great athletic programs have a huge social life. This drives non-athlete students to the school because they want a more rounded college experience, not just an education.
How Do Boosters Support College Sports?
College booster clubs raise money for sports supplies, equipment, and trips for student-athletes. They help students to find employment or housing while enrolled in the schools. They also help with finding financial aid and benefits to help the student afford their time at the college.
The most popular way that a college booster club raises money is by holding fundraisers. Successful fundraisers can include raffles, concessions at sporting events, selling clothing items with the school’s logo or mascot and online crowdfunding. Membership fees are also a way that they get money for their programs.
How Do You Become A Member of NCAA Booster Clubs?
Becoming a member of your university booster club is actually pretty simple. A member of a booster club is as defined by the NCAA a “representatives of the institution’s athletic interests.”
To become a member you would need to either:
- Purchase season tickets for any sport at the university
- Make a financial contribution to the athletic department or booster club
- You could also become a member by participating in organizations that promote the university’s athletic department
- Provide or help to provide employment for enrolled student-athletes
- Assist to provide benefits for enrolled student-athletes
Only institutional staff members are allowed to recruit prospective student-athletes, but you can assist in recruiting prospective student-athletes to obtain membership in a booster club. Once you have been identified as a representative of the student athletics, you hold the identity forever.
How are College Booster Clubs Different Than High School Booster Clubs?
In high school booster clubs, staff members are only allowed to approve activities held at the high school. They are not permitted to actually be members of the booster club. This means that the group is mainly organized and operated by the parents of the student-athletes.
In college, NCAA booster clubs are run by parents, adults, and school staff. But the college booster club must follow the strict rules set in place by the NCAA. There have been a lot of famous scandals as a result of NCAA booster clubs not following the rules and in the end, it always hurt the school’s funding.
What Does the NCAA Have to do With College Booster Clubs?
The National Collegiate Athletic Association is an organization dedicated to the success and well-being of college athletes. Their goal is to make sure the competition is fair, safe and ethical. They also try to make the educational experience of the student-athletes better, by helping them to succeed in academics as well as the sports programs. NCAA booster clubs follow the rules and guidelines set in place to ensure that the playing field is fair to all student-athletes.
Student-athletes must also abide by rules set in place by the NCAA including:
- No gambling on college sports
- They must be honest and show sportsmanship
- They cannot have used their athletic skills for payment of any form
- Cannot have take pay, or been promised payment for competing in college sports
- They cannot have appeared in a commercial or advertisement
- They also need to be an enrolled student in a college and seeking a degree while remaining in good standing
NCAA Booster Club Rules And Regulations For Members
Besides not offering monetary (or similar) incentives to student-athlete prospects, there are other rules set by the NCAA that must be followed when you’re a booster club member. Some of those rules go as follows:
- You cannot contact a prospect in-person, through phone, email, internet or letter and it doesn’t matter if you’re on campus or off. All methods are prohibited. You should notify the staff and athletics department of the student-athlete and they will do the communicating.
- You cannot provide gifts, free stuff or discounted services to prospects or their families. You’re also not allowed to offer employment as an incentive either. This includes offering transportation to and from their place of employment unless that is something that benefits all employees.
- Offering any incentives to the coach of the prospect is also against the rules.
How To Create A Booster Club
As a parent to a student-athlete, you may eventually want to become involved in your college sports booster, but what do you do if there isn’t one? How do you get one started?
Believe it or not, NCAA booster clubs have different management rules for different states. While a lot of the rules are similar, there are little federal regulations with university booster clubs.
When you understand the specific rules for founding a booster club in your state, you can make your NCAA booster club successful. After making it operational, you can focus on membership growth and fundraising for your college sports teams.
By joining a booster club, you get to play an active role in your student’s athletic experience.
You also get to meet other parents and adults with similar interests. Your membership to the booster club can prove to be both fun and rewarding as you help to support the university’s athletic department, facilities, and students. Looking for more help with booster club fundraising, management or marketing? Check out our blog for weekly article updates!