“They explain the rules to you, but as a kid you’re not really listening to all of them rules. You go out and just, people show you so much love, you don’t even think about the rules. You’re just like ‘Ah man, it’s cool.’ You take it, and next thing you know the NCAA is down your back.”
– Ray Small, former Ohio State football student‐athlete
Each year student-athletes attend meetings regarding NCAA and team rules. Hearing about all of the different rules that affect student-athletes can be overwhelming and it is not uncommon for a student-athlete to question the rules and wonder why they are what they are.
One question commonly asked by student-athletes is why can’t I accept extra benefits? Extra benefits are defined by the NCAA as any special arrangement by an employee or booster of an institution that is provided to a student-athlete and is not generally available to all other students. While people may initially turn their noses up to a rule that requires you to say no to free meals or special discounts, take a few minutes to see what the rule is ultimately trying to protect.
- Amateurism –The world of college athletics is held together by the philosophy of amateurism. The definition of an amateur athlete is someone who competes in sports for personal satisfaction and not for monetary gain. The NCAA has set restrictions on what student-athletes are able to receive in order to discourage a “professional” like atmosphere. By implementing a rule that requires you to say “no” to some things now, the NCAA is setting you up to be able to say “yes” in the future.
Where to draw the line?
When it comes to extra benefits, the rules are black and white. There are times when extra benefit infractions are joked about by the media, however accepting a benefit that seems insignificant at the time will jeopardize a student-athlete’s eligibility. The best rule of thumb is to always ASK before accepting anything from any individual. Feel free to contact the Georgia Compliance Office with any questions or concerns.
Interested in learning more about why the NCAA has certain rules? Check out the NCAA article “Why is that a Rule” featured in the NCAA Championship Magazine.