Athletics Compliance Office > Prospects > Amateurism

Only an amateur student-athlete is eligible for intercollegiate athletics participation in a particular sport. Freshmen and transfer student-athletes initially enrolling at a division I institution are required to complete the amateurism certification process outlined by the NCAA via the Eligibility Center. Student-athletes could lose their amateur status, should they:

  • Accept pay or the promise of pay for play
  • Enter into a professional contract
  • Play for a professional team
  • Enter into an agreement (oral or written) with an agent
  • Accept a benefit from an agent or runner
  • Promote a commercial product or service regardless of pay (allow your picture, name or testimonial to be used to advertise a product or service)

In the state of Indiana, it is a Class D Felony for an agent to knowingly or intentionally enter into an agent contract or a professional sports services contract with a student-athlete without disclosure of recruitment via written notice, no later than 10 days before the contract is executed, to the head of the athletic department at the institution in which the student-athlete is enrolled. Indiana does not require agent registration.

It is not an NCAA violation for a student-athlete to merely talk to an agent or advisor. The Compliance Office can assist student-athletes in making important decisions regarding life after college athletics and in navigating difficult choices involving professional aspirations.

NCAA bylaws

Under NCAA Bylaw 12.3, a student-athlete (any individual who currently participates in or who may be eligible in the future to participate in intercollegiate sport) may not agree verbally or in writing to be represented by an athlete agent in the present or in the future for the purpose of marketing the student-athlete's ability or reputation. If the student-athlete enters into such an agreement, the student-athlete is ineligible for intercollegiate competition.

Also, a student-athlete may not accept transportation or other benefits from an athlete agent. This prohibition applies to the student-athlete and his or her relatives or friends.

The term "agent" includes actual agents, runners (individuals who befriend student-athletes and frequently distribute impermissible benefits) and advisors.

It is not a violation of NCAA rules if a student-athlete merely talks to an agent (as long as an agreement for agent representation is not established) or socializes with an agent. For example, a student-athlete could go to dinner with an agent and no NCAA violations would result if the student-athlete provided his or her own transportation and paid for his or her meal.

What happens if a violation occurs?

Example: A student-athlete is befriended by a runner for an agent. The student-athlete is unaware of the connection between the runner and agent. The runner gives the student-athlete long-distance calling cards, pays for meals, articles of clothing and a new car stereo. The student-athlete never asks why the runner is providing him with these items.

The student-athlete's educational institution becomes aware of the runner's identity and the provision of benefits to the student-athlete.

The institution must declare the student-athlete ineligible for intercollegiate competition. The institution decides to ask for the reinstatement of the student-athlete's eligibility and sends a request to the NCAA staff.

At a minimum, the student-athlete will be required to repay the value of the impermissible benefits and will be withheld from a certain number of contests, based on case precedent.

It is permissible for baseball and hockey student-athletes to use the services of an advisor without jeopardizing their NCAA eligibility, provided:

  • The student-athlete (and his family) does not accept any benefits from the advisor (e.g., free services, meals); and
  • The advisor does not market the student-athlete's athletic ability or reputation directly to a professional team on the student-athlete's behalf.

Advisors MAY:

  • Provide counsel and advice to the student-athlete and his family
  • Review professional contracts with the student-athlete and his family
  • Receive payment for services rendered (Advisors may not provide free services)

If you intend to retain your NCAA eligibility, Advisors MAY NOT:

  • Market student-athletes directly to a team/club in any manner
  • Attend contract negotiations on a student-athlete's behalf
  • Directly negotiate contracts with professional teams
  • Enter into a contract (oral or written) with a student-athlete for representation
  • Provide free services

ASK BEFORE YOU ACT (574) 631-9647








University of Notre Dame

Department of Athletics


Thursday, November 4, 2010

The NCAA salutes the more than 400,000 student-athletes participating in 23 sports at more than 1,000 member institutions.