Who is a booster / representative of athletic interests?

NCAA rules state that all alumni, friends, and employees of the University are categorized as "representatives of athletics interests." The NCAA stipulates that once an individual has been identified as a representative or "booster/donor" of the University's athletics programs, he or she retains this status forever even if the individual is no longer associated with the athletics program. Furthermore, the NCAA states that it is possible to be a representative of athletics interest at more than one university at the same time.

A representative of athletics interests is anyone who has ever:

  • made any type of contribution to the athletics department or to a booster club
  • joined the institution's booster club or any sport specific support group
  • provided or helped arrange employment for a student-athlete
  • provided benefits to enrolled student-athletes or their families
  • assisted in any manner in the recruitment of prospective student-athletes
  • promoted the institution's athletics program in any manner
  • purchased season tickets from the University

As a representative of athletics interests (booster/donor), you may not:

  • contact a prospect's coach, principal or counselor in an effort to evaluate a prospect
  • visit the prospect's institution to pick up film or transcripts pertaining to the evaluation of the prospect's áacademic eligibility or athletic ability
  • contact a prospect, his/her parents, legal guardians or spouse on or off campus
  • contact a prospect by telephone or by letter
  • make special arrangements for entertainment for recruiting purposes
  • provide extra benefits to a prospect, student -athlete at UT or another institution or to the parents, family and/or guardians of the prospects or student athlete's

Who is a prospective student-athlete?

NCAA rules stipulate that a prospective student-athlete is a person who has started classes for the ninth (9th) grade, regardless of his/her athletics ability and/or participation.

Note: In the sport of men's basketball, an individual becomes a prospective student-athlete when he enrolls in classes for the seventh (7th) grade.


  • A prospective student-athlete remains a prospect even after he or she has signed a National Letter of Intent or accepts an offer of financial aid to attend an institution.
  • The prospect remains a prospect until he/she reports for the first day of classes for a regular term (fall or spring) or the first official day of practice (whichever comes first).

Don't forget about transfer students!

As a representative of athletics interest you are not permitted to contact any student-athlete or the family member/guardian of a student-athlete who is or has enrolled at another institution for the purposes of recruiting and/or to determine the possibility of transferring to UT. The same rules apply to these students as they do for prospective student-athletes.

What is an extra benefit?

The NCAA defines an extra benefit as any special arrangement by an institutional employee or a representative of the institution's athletics interest ("booster/donor") to provide a student-athlete (or a student-athlete's relative or friend) a benefit that is not generally available to other UT students and their relative and/or friends. Therefore, please be aware of the following:

  • A student-athlete cannot accept anything from an employee of UT or athletic booster/donor (e.g., use of a car, haircut, clothing, gifts, money, tickets for any kind of entertainment, payment of long distance telephone calls).
  • A student-athlete cannot accept free or reduced cost room and/or board from any UT employee or booster/donor of UT's athletic programs. This includes in on or off campus, in the student-athlete's home city or any other location. This would preclude a student-athlete from "house sitting" without paying rental costs at a comparable rate for similar housing in that locale.
  • A student-athlete may not accept free or reduced cost storage room for personal belongings for the summer months from any UT employee or booster/donor of UT's athletic programs.
  • A student-athlete cannot accept free or reduced merchandise or services from any merchant unless that free or reduced cost item is also available to the general public.
  • A student-athlete cannot eat at a restaurant as the guest of an athletic booster/donor or an employee of UT.
  • On infrequent, special occasions (e.g., a birthday, Thanksgiving, etc.), a student-athlete may accept an invitation to the home of an employee of UT or an athletic booster/donor for a meal.
  • A student-athlete cannot use a Department of Athletics copy machine, fax machine or make long distance phone calls using departmental equipment or the long distance access code of an employee of UT or athletic booster/donor.
  • Members of the Department of Athletics staff or an athletic booster/donor are not permitted to type reports, papers, letters, etc., for a student-athlete.
  • A student-athlete cannot receive a special discount, payment arrangement or credit on a purchase (e.g., airline ticket, clothing), or service (e.g., laundry, dry cleaning) from an employee of UT or an athletic booster/donor.
  • An UT employee or a booster/donor cannot provide a student-athlete with a loan of money, a guarantee of bond, the use of an automobile or the signing or co-signing of a note to arrange a loan, or pay or provide other compensation for work not performed or at unreasonable levels for work performed.
  • An UT employee may provide a student-athlete only reasonable and occasional local (i.e., within a 30 mile radius of the UT campus) transportation. However, an UT employee may not utilize a University vehicle for purposes of assisting a student-athlete's move from one residence to another.

What are the consequences of NCAA violations?

  • A currently enrolled student-athlete being declared ineligible to participate
  • Jeopardized eligibility for prospective student-athlete(s)
  • NCAA sanctions imposed on the University and its athletics programs

What are the consequences of NCAA violations for athletic representatives (boosters/donors)?

The University of Tennessee is required by the NCAA to notify boosters of consequences regarding rules violations. Boosters found in violation of NCAA rules are subject to losing benefits and privileges, including but not limited to disassociation from the University of Tennessee and/or loss of ticket privileges.

Appearance Requests

Requests for Tennessee student-athlete appearances must be made through the Thornton Athletics Student Life Center. Per NCAA regulations, appearances may only be granted to educational, charitable and non-profit organizations, and the following conditions apply:

  1. Student-athletes may not miss class time for appearances;
  2. All monies derived from the appearance must go directly to the charitable, educational or non-profit agency;
  3. Student-athletes may only accept actual and necessary expenses related to their participation in the activity (and these expenses must be documented); and
  4. The appearance may not involve co-sponsorship, advertisement or promotion by a commercial entity other than through the reproduction of the sponsoring organization's officially registered regular trademark or logo on printed materials such as pictures, posters or calendars.

The Thornton Athletics Student Life Center reviews all student-athlete appearance requests on a case-by-case basis and will grant or deny appearances based on the specific circumstances of each request. Additionally, due to academic and athletic obligations, UT gives preference to community service events that occur in the Knoxville area.

To request a student-athlete appearance, please contact Kayla Smith, Director of Student-Athlete Development, at ksmit239@utk.edu or (865) 974-2795.

Recently Reported NCAA Violations

The Tennessee Compliance Office will periodically release self-reported NCAA violations. The following is an account of recent self-reports:

Bylaw(s) Summary Corrective Actions Taken
Women's Basketball – August 9, 2014 Staff exceeded the permissible amount of host money for a PSA's single-day official visit by $10. PSA repaid the benefit; Letter of warning to involved staff members; Rules education.
Men's Golf – July 16, 2014 Head coach impermissibly called and had impermissible off-campus contact with PSA. Coach prohibited from recruiting off-campus for seven (7) calendar days; Coach prohibited from having off-campus contact with PSA for an additional 30 days once in-person contact is permissible; Coach prohibited from having more than one additional off-campus contact with the PSA; Coach prohibited from having any telephone contact with any PSA for 14 calendar days; Coach prohibited from contacting PSA by telephone for an additional 60 days once calls are permissible.
Track – June 5, 2014 Assistant track coach sent impermissible text message to PSA. Coach not permitted to make telephone contact with any PSA for 14 consecutive calendar days; entire coaching staff may not call or send general correspondence to the involved PSA for 30 consecutive calendar days.
Women's Golf – June 5, 2014
11.01.5 Volunteer assistant coach received impermissible per diem. Rules education for golf staff and volunteer assistant repaid the benefit of $6.
Track – April 21, 2014 Assistant coach made three (3) impermissible calls to two (2) PSAs. Track coaches were prohibited from calling PSA1 for 14 days; PSA2 signed with another institution and may not continue recruiting him per NLI provisions; rules education.
Soccer – April 21, 2014 Head coach made an impermissible telephone call. Soccer coaches were prohibited from calling PSA for 14 days and rules education.
Video Board Camera Staff – April 17, 2014
13.10 PSA was broadcast on the video board during a home basketball game. Letter of admonishment to involved staff members and rules education.
Institutional – March 19, 2014 Institution discovered a local media outlet was selling pictures and commercial items of current student-athletes. Institution issued a request to discontinue selling photographs and commercial items of current Tennessee student-athletes.
Track – Feb. 9, 2014 Assistant coach sent impermissible text to PSA. Coach not permitted to make telephone contact with any PSA for 14 consecutive calendar days; entire coaching staff may not call of send general correspondence to the involved PSA for 30 consecutive calendar days.
Rowing – Jan. 15, 2014
16.02.3 Representative of athletics interests provided impermissible transportation to a current SA. SA required to repay amount of benefit ($6.58) to a charity of her choice and additional rules education for student-athlete.
Rowing – Jan. 15, 2014; Head coach sent impermissible text message to PSA. Prohibited from sending texts, making telephone calls and sending general correspondence to the PSA for 30 calendar days.
Track – Jan. 9, 2014
13.2.1 Director of Ops requested the incorrect amount for reimbursement for a PSA's official visit. PSA required to donate $30 to the charity of his choice.
Swimming and Diving – Dec. 4, 2013; Donor paid for a team meal at a restaurant. Rules education for coaches and student-athletes; no occasional meals for 60 days; letters of admonishment to swimming and diving staff; request reinstatement of team.
Media Relations/Track – Nov. 26, 2013 PSA was photographed with Pat Summitt prior to football game. Photograph was placed on www.utsports.com. Letter of admonishment and rules education with media relations staff member.
Volleyball – Oct. 30, 2013
14.1.10 Two male practice players were permitted to practice prior to signing the required NCAA Drug Test Consent Form. Practice players completed all paperwork; assistant coach issued a letter of admonishment; rules education; evaluation of the male practice player process
Men's Tennis – Oct. 3, 2013; 11.7.4 Associate head coach permitted current men's tennis student-athletes to hit with an outside consultant subsequent to receiving information from the complaince office regarding the impermissibility of outside consultants. Associate head coach suspended for one week; men's tennis delayed the beginning of their non-championship segement for four days (a 2-for-1 penalty); letter of warning issued to head coach and letter or reprimand issued to associate head coach
Swimming – Sept. 30, 2013 Swimming staff allowed student-athletes to send impermissible notecards to PSAs subsequent to their official visits. No in-person, on or off-campus contact with involved PSAs for 30 days; No telephone calls to the involved PSAs for 60 days and ruled education
Volleyball – Sept. 24, 2013;; 13.11.1; Violation A: Volunteer coach mentioned a HS team and PSA in posts on Twitter.

Violation B: volunteer coach played a co-ed doubles tournament with a PSA, which constituted a impermissible tryout.
Rules education with the volunteer coach on use of social media; permissible duties; limitations on contacts with PSA and compliance office contact information; created a volunteer coach document to be completed by all volunteer coaches; prohibited the volunteer coach from sending out volleyball-related social media messages for the remainder of the academic year; following the discovery of the second violation, the compliance office issued a verbal reprimand to the volunteer coach; a letter of reprimand to the volunteer coach; volunteer coach was suspended for six practices
Swimming – Sept. 17, 2013 Swimming coach responded to a text message from the parent of a PSA while the PSA and family were on an official visit. Coach not permitted to make telephone contact with any PSA for 14 consecutive calendar days; entire coaching staff may not call of send general correspondence to the involved PSA for 30 consecutive calendar days; letter or reprimand to the coach; rules education regarding communication with a PSA and their parents
Media Relations – Aug. 22, 2013 The "Tennessee Update" section of utsports.com contained impermissible links to noninstitutional websites. Links immediately removed; rules education provided to media relations staff
Football – Aug. 22, 2013 a-5 PSAs received general correspondence with an address label which causes the envelope to exceed the number of permissible logos. Football staff will not send general correspondence to PSAs receiving an impermissible envelope for two weeks; rules education for football staff concerning genreal correspondence.
Men's Basketball – July 30, 2013 PSA was permitted to make an unofficial visit during the month of July, contrary to NCAA legislation Letter of admonishment for involved compliance staff member; declared PSA ineligible-will seek reinstatement; rules education regarding the July recruiting period in MBB
Women's Basketball – June 27, 2013
13.8.1 While accompanying a PSA on an official visit, HS coach of a PSA was impermissibly provided transportation and meals. Letter of admonishment to involved staff members; rules education regarding entertainment of HS coaches; HS coach repay benefit of $98.70 to charity of their choice; WBB staff precluded from recruiting PSAs attending coach's HS.
Swimming – May 2, 2013 Subsequent to being hired by Tennessee, an assistant coach continued calling and texting PSAs from club team where assistant coach had previously worked Reinstatement; admonishment; rules ed; The involved institutional staff member(s) shall not be permitted to make telephone contact with any prospective student-athlete for the 14 calendar days immediately following discovery of the violation. The institution shall not be permitted to make telephone contact, send recruiting materials (per NCAA Bylaw 13.4.1), or send permissible electronic transmissions (per NCAA Bylaw to the prospective student-athlete involved in the violation for the 30 calendar days immediately following discovery of the violation.
Women's Basketball – April 25, 2013
16.5.2 Student-athletes were provided per diem exceeding permissible amount by $3 Repayment of the benefit to a charity of SA's choice
Football – April 16, 2013 Non-qualifier, junior college PSA was permitted to make unofficial visit during first year of enrollment at junior college. Rules Ed and counting as one of three permissible off-campus contacts with SA
Men's Tennis – March 22, 2013 & 13.6.8 Repayment of the benefit to a charity of PSA's choice Coach mistakenly purchased breakfast for PSA and PSA's father. The coach did not realize purchasing the meal initiated the 48-hour period for an official visit which was scheduled to begin around noon. The official visit exceeded the permissible 48 hours by two hours.
Football – March 20, 2013 While on an unofficial visit, PSA, of his own volition, attended an off-campus meal intended for official visitors only. This caused the football staff to exceed the permissible number of off-campus contacts. Rules education for involved staff members
Volleyball – March 12, 2013
13.10 A member of the volleyball staff posted pictures of PSAs attedning camp on the volleyball Facebook page, thus publicizing visits by PSAs. Pictures removed; rules education with staff
Swimming – March 12, 2013
13.10 A member of the coaching staff was asked to write a weekly article for Swimming World magazine. The weekly “Ask a Coach” column allows anyone that reads the magazine to submit swimming-related questions to the magazine to be answered by a swim coach. Coach agreed to write an article each week that would consist of a response to the questions fielded. Anyone that submits a question is not required to give personal information but one PSA revealed he is a junior. Prohibition from contributing to Swimming World Magazine; rules education; letter of admonishment
Women's Basketball – Jan. 23, 2013 Coach created personalized recruiting aids (notebooks) and placed them in PSA's hotel room Reinstatement request; Admonishment; Rules education
Baseball – Jan. 14, 2013 Strength coach conducted workout within a week of the fall final exam period Two-for-one reduction in CARA for the first week of the Championship segment; Rules education and letter of admonishment
Men's Swimming – Jan. 9, 2013
13.10.2 Retweeted about a PSA during a competition on campus Admonishment; Rules ed; Ban from Twitter for a week
Women's Swimming – Dec. 13, 2012 Sent recruiting materials to a junior. Prohibited contact and phone calls
Football – Dec. 5, 2012 Football administrative intern provided coaching to SA's during a football game. Admonishment; Rules ed; Withheld from attending practice for one week
Men's Basketball – Oct. 23, 2012 SA's received impermissible personal grocery shopping services over the course of Summer I and Summer II, 2012. Admonishment; Rules ed; Repayment of benefit to charity of SA's choice
Registrar's Office / Track and Field – Oct. 16, 2012 SA was inadvertently cleared to receive financial aid by the institution's certifying officer. SA subsequently received impermissible financial aid prior to being certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center. Rules education and letter of reprimand
Track and Field – Oct. 10, 2012 SA received payment for lessons given at institutional facility. Rules ed for student; Repayment of benefit to charity of student's choosing
Media Relations – Sept. 24, 2012 Printed football media guide exceeded the NCAA prescribed page limit. Rules education; Collecting of all undistributed guides
Men's Basketball – Sept. 21, 2012 and 13.11.1 Individual skill instruction was conducted in front of a general audience prior to a football game. Subsequent to the skill instruction, PSA's making official visits were permitted to shoot on the court while the coaches were present. Admonishment; Rules ed for coaches and university staff members involved in decision to open concourse of TBA
Men's Basketball – Aug. 30, 2012 Alleged inconsistent camp registration process. Specifically, the NCAA Basketball Focus Group declared a secondary violation occurred in men's basketball because the team camp registration process was different than all other camps. None
Football – July 19, 2012 and 6 SAs participated in countable athletically related activities beyond the temporary certification period prior to being certified as qualifiers SAs withheld from one day of comparable activity for every four days over the permissible period; Compliance Office must henceforth communicate temporary certification periods directly to the coaches
Football – July 12, 2012
13.10.5 Football recruiting office maintained Twitter page that re-tweeted a post by PSA Rules education for involved personnel; post deleted
Football – July 5, 2012 or SA received impermissible typing services for one page paper from academic counselor Rules Education; Letter of admonishment to academic counselor; SA repaid cost of the benefit received to charity
Softball – May 4, 2012
17.1.9(b) Team inadvertently rescheduled a postponed game during a final exam period without submitting a waiver Institution will not request a waiver of SEC Bylaw 17.1.9(b) for the sport of softball for two years
Women's Basketball – April 25, 2012 Fans paid for a SA's meal without her knowledge, and she did not pay them back SA donated $15 to the charity of her choice
Men's Swimming – Feb. 13, 2012
10.3 SAs placed bets on professional and collegiate sports besides their own Rules education to all SAs on sports wagering; SAs ineligible for team activities for the remainder of the year
Women's Volleyball – Feb. 13, 2012
13.4.1 A member of the coaching staff responded to an email received from PSA prior to the permissible time to send recruiting correspondence to PSA Rules Education; No correspondence with PSA for 60 days after first permissible date of correspondence; education on compliance system software blocking emails outside of permissible period
Men's Track and Field – Feb. 9, 2012 A member of the coaching staff had eight telephone contacts with PSA without receiving adequate permission to contact from PSA's prior institution 28-day ban on recruiting phone calls for coach; Rules Education; Letter of Admonishment; no telephone contact with involved PSA for 60 days
Women's Track and Field – Jan. 17, 2012 A member of the coaching staff had telephone contact with two PSAs, who were SAs at a four-year college, prior to receiving written permission to contact from their current institution 30-day ban for coach from telephone contact with any SA; SAs declared ineligible to participate at institution; letter of admonishment to coach; rules education
Media Relations – Sept. 13, 2011 Office sent a press release to local media to inform them of individual skill instruction in men's basketball and an interview opportunity Rules education to Media Relations Office and all head coaches; letter of admonishment

Last Updated: 10.14.14

Autograph and Donations

Student-athlete autographs are not available by request, but may be acquired at preseason Fan Days and other sanctioned promotional events. Please note that these autographs must not be sold or traded for money or any item of value as this could jeopardize the eligibility of the involved student-athlete.

All other autograph (coach) and donation requests must be made through the Athletics Department's Marketing Office. Requests are subject to NCAA regulations and limited to charitable and non-profit organizations. Organizations requesting autographs must provide the item to be autographed (please do not provide the item until you have received notification of approval). Requests made by the general public will not be fulfilled (coach autographs may be obtained at preseason Fan Days, Big Orange Caravan events and other announced events).

The Marketing Office and Compliance Office review all autograph and donation requests on a case-by-case basis and will grant or deny requests based on the specific circumstances of each request. Every effort is made to accommodate requests, but due to an extremely high demand, not all requests can be fulfilled.

To request a coach's autograph or a donation for your charitable/non-profit organization, please contact the Marketing Office at utathletics@utk.edu or (865) 974-1734.