On November 6th the The National Collegiate Athletic Association dropped a bombshell of an announcement for the crowdfunding community. On the NCAAs Legislative Database a series of questions were asked about prospective students using crowdfunding a year ago and the answer seemed rather convoluted however recently the NCAA posted a new set of rules and regulations which can be summarized, giving the method of personal fundraising (crowdfunding) explicit approval under guidelines :
- An athlete may set up their own crowdfunding campaign as long as the funds raised are used for actual and necessary expenses related to competition and practice (for team athletes) or an event and practice immediately preceding the event (for individual athletes).
- An athlete may not receive funds (via crowdfunding or otherwise) from an agent or a representative of an institutions athletics interests (e.g. a booster club) or an institutional staff member.
- An athlete may participate in non-sports related crowdfunding provided that there is no relationship to nor mention of athletics. For example, a soccer player could conduct a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to make a documentary film about pollution as long as she did not mention her status as an athlete.
- An institution or booster club may not accept crowdfunding donations on behalf of an athlete.
- Except for a few very specific exceptions, a student-athlete is not permitted to use his or her name or picture to advertise or promote a for-profit crowdfunding service. That is to say, a student athlete cant act as a spokesperson for a company (crowdfunding or otherwise).
- A crowdfunding entity cant independently solicit funds and promise them to the student-athlete upon graduation or exhaustion of athletics eligibility. Once the student-athlete accepts the promise of pay, the student-athlete has jeopardized his or her eligibility for intercollegiate athletics, even if the funds will not be disbursed until after completion of his or her intercollegiate athletics participation.
- A college or university may use crowdfunding in conjunction with its institutional fundraising efforts if the rules of the institutional, charitable, education or nonprofit promotions regulations are satisfied. However, an institutions crowdfunding campaign may not include a co-sponsorship with a for-profit organization and use a current student-athletes name, image or likeness.
I know for some this blog post may still seem confusing and convoluted but the main importance is that the NCAA has finally clarification and permitted the use of Crowdfunding for athletes in a very specific sense. Athletes and colleges are ultimately responsible for assuring that they do not contravene any of those rules. We at MAKEACHAMP are glad that the NCAA has finally made specifications. We are happy to get involved with NCAA and CIS athletes to enable them to reach their full potential with any crowdfunding campaigns.
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