Can you take your UA Fort Smith athlete girlfriend or boyfriend out to dinner? If you are an athlete, University donor or employee, or a member of the UA Fort Smith Athletic Club boosters, the answer is no. UA Fort Smith athletes must pay for their own restaurant meals and provide their own transportation.
As a full-fledged member of the NCAA Division II, UA Fort Smith is subject to numerous rules that must be followed in order to maintain the eligibility of student athletes. While membership in the booster club is fun and brings special “perks,” it also carries great responsibility. For example, the rules state that club members who buy dinner for a Lions athlete can disqualify that athlete from competition, from retaining scholarships, and more.
Make sure you do not damage a friend’s career by violating the rules, either knowingly or accidentally. The athletes should know all the rules by heart. Other students, and particularly Boosters, should exercise due diligence in reading and understanding the restrictions on providing prohibited support to student athletes. Something as simple as buying them a burger or giving an athlete a ride to the movies can disqualify that athlete from the team.
Here is what the “Rules of the Game” Booster Guide says on its web page found at http://www.uafortsmith.edu/attach/Athletics/UAFortSmithBooster/
You may invite a student athlete to your home for a home cooked or catered meal, but ONLY INFREQUENTLY and on special occasions (e.g. Thanksgiving, birthday). You may provide reasonable transportation to your home for this purpose. You MAY NOT provide a student athlete a meal in a restaurant.
ANY MEAL MUST BE PREAPPROVED BY THE COMPLIANCE OFFICE PRIOR TO ANY INVITATION.
It is impermissible to provide any type of transportation to a student athlete or a prospect.
The complexity of the rules and the possible difficulty in understanding them is illustrated in the short excerpt above, which appears to contain a direct contradiction. Under “Occasional Meals,” the rule states “You may provide reasonable transportation to your home for this purpose.” However, under “Transportation” it is expressly “impermissible to provide any type of transportation to a student athlete” without any exceptions noted.
According to Will Collier, Director of Athletic Compliance, the permission to provide occasional meals and transportation to the location of the meal may be obtained by submitting an Occasional Meals form to the Office of Compliance. The forms are located at: http://www.uafortsmith.edu/Athletics/OccasionalMeals. Collier also stated that NCAA Extra Benefit legislation applies only to students who are officially involved in Athletic Department activities, not to the general student population.
Membership in the NCAA, with its associated rules, puts greater pressures on UA Fort Smith athletes both physically and mentally. If you have any questions or concerns about the rules and regulations, contact the Office of Compliance at 788-7652 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.