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With the academic year winding down, many student-athletes are seeking employment for the upcoming summer vacation period. One question that is frequently raised at this time of year is what role may a booster of The Ohio State University play in the summer employment of our student-athletes? The following will hopefully answer this question, while increasing your awareness of the NCAA and Ohio State rules governing booster involvement in student-athlete summer employment.

General Student-Athlete Employment Guidelines:
By definition, you are a booster of The Ohio State University Department of Athletics if you:

Are or ever have been a member of a Buckeye athletic boosterorganization; Have made financial contributions to the athleticsdepartment or a booster organization; Are or ever have beeninvolved with the recruitment of a prospect; Have provided benefitsto an enrolled student-athlete or the student-athlete’s relativesor friends; Have otherwise been involved in promoting The OhioState University’s athletic program (e.g., alumni and friends); Arethe parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of an enrolled student-athlete;or Are or ever have been a season ticket holder.

An OSU booster may employ or arrange employment for a student-athlete in the summer, as long as the following conditions are met:

The student-athlete has properly registered his or her job withthe Athletic Compliance Office’s Employment Monitoring Program; Thestudent-athlete’s compensation does not include any remunerationfor value or utility that the student-athlete may have for theemployer because of publicity, reputation, fame or personalfollowing that he or she has obtained because of athletics ability;The student-athlete is compensated only for work actuallyperformed; and The student-athlete is compensated at a ratecommensurate with the going rate in that locality for similarservices.

However, even though boosters may employ or arrange employment for a student-athlete, they may not employ or arrange employment for this individual to teach or coach sport techniques or skills in his or her sport on a fee-for-lesson basis.

Even if you do not fall into one of the previously mentioned categories defining a booster, you become an OSU booster by employing a student-athlete from The Ohio State University.

Extra Benefits:
Over time, close relationships often develop between employers and their student-athlete employees. It is important that employers of our student-athletes understand that as boosters of Ohio State, it is impermissible to provide any extra benefit or special arrangement to the student-athlete employee, unless this benefit is available to all employees.

There is one exception to this rule. In general, it is permissible for a student-athlete to receive such a benefit, if it is determined that there is a pre-existing, established relationship between the student-athlete and the employer.

Q: As an employer, how do you determine if you have a pre-existing, established relationship with a student-athlete?

A: The NCAA created a four-part test to determine if one has a pre-existing, established relationship with a student-athlete:

1. Did the relationship between the athlete and the individual providing the benefit(s) develop as a result of the athlete’s participation in athletics or notoriety related thereto?

2. Did the relationship between the athlete (or the athlete’s parents) and the individual providing the benefit(s) predate the athlete’s status as a prospective student-athlete? (Note: A prospect is any student who has started classes for the ninth grade)

3. Did the relationship between the athlete (or the athlete’s parents) and the individual providing the benefit(s) predate the athlete’s status achieved as a result of his or her athletics ability and reputation?

4. Was the pattern of benefits provided by the individual to the athlete (or the athlete’s parents) prior to the athlete attaining notoriety as a skilled athlete similar in nature to those provided after attaining such stature?

If you answer “no” to question one and “yes” to questions two, three and four, then there is an established relationship with the student-athlete. However, if you answer differently for any of these four questions, then by NCAA rules, there is no pre-existing relationship and thus it is impermissible for you to provide any preferential treatment, benefits or services to that student-athlete.

Complimentary Admissions to OSU Athletic Contests:
Just as it is impermissible for employers without an established, pre-existing relationship to provide their student-athlete employees with any type of extra benefit, it is impermissible, under Ohio State rules, for our student-athletes to provide their employers complimentary admissions to Buckeye athletic contests.

Use of Student-Athlete in Promotional Activities:
In addition to the regulations regarding extra benefits, employers may not use the name, picture or appearance of a student-athlete employee to advertise, recommend or promote sales or use of a commercial product or service of any kind.

The support you give to The Ohio State University Department of Athletics is extremely important to us. We count on all of our boosters to support our student-athletes and athletics programs in accordance with all applicable NCAA, Big Ten Conference and institutional rules.

The above information is only an overview of the regulations governing booster involvement in student-athlete summer employment. For questions or to receive additional information, please contact the Ohio State University Athletic Compliance Office at (614) 292-2681.