Skip to main content

Compliance

Student-athletes at Vanderbilt University are obligated to follow NCAA, Southeastern Conference, and Vanderbilt University rules and policies. The Athletics Compliance staff is here to assist you in fulfilling these obligations. Most importantly, student-athletes should contact compliance staff prior to taking any action that could potentially jeopardize their eligibility. The staff conducts at least two rules education sessions annually with each team and provides periodic updates as needed during the academic year. Student-athletes are encouraged to ask questions and use the resources available through the Athletics Compliance staff.

 

Academic Eligibility

Academic Requirements

Student-athletes must be enrolled full time (12 hours) at Vanderbilt University in order to practice, compete, and receive athletically related financial aid. All student-athletes must notify their academic advisor prior to dropping or changing courses. Student-athletes must also notify their academic advisors if they intend to change majors, drop a major, or declare an additional major.

For more detailed information on academic requirements and eligibility, refer to the Academic Support portion of this manual. All student-athletes are expected to be familiar with these requirements.

Transfer Process

Transferring is a serious decision that may impact your eligibility, financial aid, and receipt of benefits from Vanderbilt Athletics and Vanderbilt University. Student-athletes must adhere to the following requirements during the decision-making process.

Notification of Intent to Transfer

Student-athletes wishing to pursue a transfer should inform their coach of their interest in pursuing a transfer and discuss the decision. Before you discuss a potential transfer with any other school, the NCAA requires you to notify Vanderbilt of your intent to transfer. In order for your notification to be valid, you must submit your intent to transfer in writing. A valid written notification must be in the form of a notification of intent to transfer form provided to the Athletics Compliance staff , or the Vice Chancellor and Athletics Director. A text message or other form of electronic correspondence does not qualify as written notification.

After you notify the appropriate parties in writing, Vanderbilt has two (2) business days to enter your name into the NCAA online transfer portal. Once your name is entered in the transfer portal, other schools may contact you regarding a potential transfer.

Eligibility after Transfer

If you decide to attend another institution, you must complete a year of residency at your new institution unless you meet an exception to the NCAA transfer requirements. The most common transfer exception is the one-time transfer exception, which is available under current legislation to all sports. The one-time transfer exception also requires Vanderbilt to certify in writing that it does not object to the NCAA granting an exception to the one-year residency requirement. Once you (or the school you transfer to) requests the ability to use the one-time transfer exception, Vanderbilt has seven (7) business days to grant or deny the one time transfer exception. If Vanderbilt denies the use of the one-time transfer exception, you are still permitted to transfer to the new school and may appeal the decision to deny the use of the transfer exception.

Student-athletes who wish to appeal transfer decisions should indicate this in writing to compliance staff.  The University Athletics Committee, which is a body external to the Athletics Department and is comprised of several faculty members including the Faculty Athletics Representative, is responsible for enacting the transfer appeal procedures.  Appeal hearings are conducted under the sole direction of the Chair of the University Athletics Committee and the committee members chosen at his/her discretion.  The Athletics Committee has 15 days to conduct the hearing and provide you with written results or the appeal is granted by default.

 

Receipt of Benefits after Providing Notification of Intent to Transfer

Under NCAA rules, Vanderbilt is permitted to cancel, reduce, or nonrenew any athletically related aid at the end of the academic term in which the student-athlete provides notification of intent to transfer. Your Head Coach also has the ability to remove you from your team’s active roster if you provide written notification of intent to transfer. If you remain on your sport’s active roster, you will continue to receive the same benefits related to athletics participation (e.g. medical expenses, Hendrix room meals, equipment) as other student-athletes on your team. If you are removed from the active roster, you are only eligible for specific benefits as outlined below:

  • Medical Care/Expenses: Student-athlete may continue to receive treatment for existing injuries or conditions for up to two years after removal from the active roster.
  • Academic Support Services: Determined on a case-by-case basis by sport administrator and academic support staff.
  • Meals incidental to participation and nutritional supplements: No longer eligible for benefit.
  • Complimentary admissions (in own sport and in home events in other sports): No longer eligible for benefit.
  • Facility Use (e.g. team facility, weight room, other athletics facilities): No longer eligible for benefit.
  • Student-Athlete Assistance Fund: No longer eligible for benefit.
  • Team Activities (e.g. occasional meals, entertainment, practice involvement, voluntary activities, team travel): No longer eligible for benefit.
  • Athletics Aid: May be reduced, cancelled, or nonrenewed after conclusion of regular academic term.
  • Apparel/Equipment: No longer eligible for benefit; must return all equipment issued by sports program. Apparel may be retained by student-athlete.
  • Vanderbilt Athletics Events/Functions (e.g. awards ceremonies, banquets): Determined on a case-by-case basis by sport administrator.

Departure from Sports Programs

Participation in intercollegiate athletics at Vanderbilt University is a privilege. A student-athlete may be suspended or removed from a team’s active roster for violations of the Vanderbilt Student-Athlete Conduct policy, the Vanderbilt Student Accountability Policy, the Vanderbilt Honor Code, or any applicable team rules. A student-athlete may also be removed from the active roster at the discretion of the head coach. Suspension or removal from the team is separate from a student-athlete’s continued receipt of financial aid. Any decision to reduce or cancel a student-athlete’s athletics aid is subject to the parameters contained in the applicable financial aid agreement and must include an opportunity for the student-athlete to appeal the decision. Student-athletes removed from an active roster, regardless of their continued receipt of athletics aid, are not eligible to receive meals incidental to participation, complimentary admissions, facility use, or apparel/equipment and are not permitted to participate in team activities.

 

Ethical Conduct

Student-athletes are expected to act in an ethical and sportsmanlike manner at all times. All student-athletes must abide by all NCAA, Southeastern Conference, and Vanderbilt regulations. NCAA Bylaw 10.1 states that unethical conduct includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Refusal to furnish information relevant to an investigation of a possible violation of an NCAA regulation when requested to do so by the NCAA or the individual’s institution;
  • Knowing involvement in offering or providing a prospective or an enrolled student-athlete an improper inducement or extra benefit or improper financial aid;
  • Knowingly furnishing or knowingly influencing others to furnish the NCAA or the individual’s institution false or misleading information concerning an individual’s involvement in or knowledge of matters relevant to a possible violation of an NCAA regulation;
  • Receipt of benefits by an institutional staff member for facilitating or arranging a meeting between a student-athlete and an agent, financial advisor or a representative of an agent or advisor (e.g., “runner”);
  • Knowing involvement in providing a banned substance or impermissible supplement to student-athletes, or knowingly providing medications to student-athletes contrary to medical licensure, commonly accepted standards of care in sports medicine practice, or state and federal law. This provision shall not apply to banned substances for which the student-athlete has received a medical exception per Bylaw 31.2.3.2; however, the substance must be provided in accordance with medical licensure, commonly accepted standards of care and state or federal law;
  • Engaging in any athletics competition under an assumed name or with intent to otherwise deceive; or
  • Failure to provide complete and accurate information to the NCAA, the NCAA Eligibility Center or the institution’s athletics department regarding an individual’s amateur status.
  • Sports Wagering Activities (see below).

Sports Wagering

NCAA rules prohibit student-athletes from engaging in sports wagering activities. This prohibition applies to any competition in a sport for which the NCAA sponsors a championship, as well as emerging sports for women. Sports wagering activities include: placing an item of value at risk to potentially gain an item of value (e.g. bracket pool or fantasy football league requiring a $5 entrance fee and pool going to the winner), disclosing information to individuals involved in or associated with sports gambling, or taking actions to influence the outcome of a competition for gambling purposes. Penalties for sports wagering may include, but are not limited to, suspension, permanent loss of eligibility, and potential civil or criminal liability.

Additionally, the increased popularity of sports wagering poses significant issues for student-athletes. Never provide information relating to any Vanderbilt team or student-athlete to entities outside of Vanderbilt Athletics unless you are authorized to do so by your Head Coach or Sport Administrator. Be wary of outsiders seeking information about the injury status of yourself or other student-athletes, as they may use this information to influence sports wagering markets. Disclosing confidential information could place Vanderbilt at a competitive disadvantage, and, more importantly, jeopardize your eligibility.

 

Amateurism

All student-athletes must maintain amateur status in order to be eligible for competition. The areas in this section address issues that could potentially impact your amateur status.

 

Amateurism Quick Reference Guide
Within your sport, you cannot … In any sport, you cannot …
·       Accept payment or promise of payment for participating in your sport.

·       Use your athletics skill for payment.

·       Enter into any agreement to compete in professional athletics.

·       Play on any professional athletics team

·       Request that your name be placed on a draft list for professional sports or tryout with a professional sports organization.

·       Have sources provide athletically related financial aid or benefits other than Vanderbilt University.

·       Participate on teams other than those fielded by Vanderbilt University during the academic year. This includes tryouts, exhibitions, church leagues, or tournament games.

 

·       Agree to have your picture, name, or reputation used to promote a commercial product.

·       Accept gifts, meals, loans of vehicles or money from boosters or people associated with athletics interest groups.

·       Be represented by an agent or organization for the purposes of marketing your athletics skill or reputation.

·       Receive any benefit that is not available to other students at Vanderbilt University.

·       Participate in a summer basketball league not approved by the NCAA. You must have written permission from compliance staff for summer league participation.

·       Play on a non-collegiate athletics team during the academic year without permission from your head coach and compliance staff.

 

Extra benefits

Accepting extra benefits, knowingly or not, is a serious violation of NCAA rules. If you accept extra benefits, you could lose your eligibility, your scholarship, and your spot on the team. If you or any of your family members accept an extra benefit, you will be ineligible from the time the benefit is received, even if it is later repaid. An extra benefit is any arrangement by a Vanderbilt Employee or representative of athletics interests (i.e. boosters) to provide a student-athlete or their family members or friends with a benefit not expressly authorized by NCAA rules.

Specific examples of impermissible benefits include but are not limited to:

  • Transportation or use of a vehicle;
  • Gifts or loans of clothing, audio or video equipment;
  • Food and beverages;
  • Interest-free or low interest loans;
  • Cash or cash equivalent (e.g. credit cards, telephone cards, charge accounts, etc…);
  • Exceeding the allotted number of complimentary admissions;
  • Cash, free or reduced-cost services;
  • Special payment arrangements for goods or services;
  • Material benefits that are not available to the general student body.

Student-athletes may only accept benefits that are available to the general public or general student body. However, even a small extra benefit may jeopardize your eligibility. If someone other than a family member offers these items or services to you, notify your coach or the compliance staff immediately.

Agents

Use of Agents

NCAA rules do not permit an individual to participate in an intercollegiate sport if he or she has ever:

  1. Agreed, either orally or in writing, to be represented by an agent (as defined below) for the purpose of marketing his or her athletics ability or reputation in that sport; or
  2. Accepts benefits or transportation from any agent (as defined below) or from any person seeking to represent an individual in the marketing of their athletics ability.

Who is An Agent?

The NCAA defines an agent as anyone who directly or indirectly:

  1. Represents, or attempts to represent, an individual for the purpose of marketing his or her athletics ability or reputation for financial gain; or
  2. Seeks to obtain any type of financial gain or benefit from securing a prospective student-athlete’s enrollment at an educations institution or from a student-athletes potential earnings as a professional athlete.

This definition of agent includes, but is not limited to:

  • Certified contract advisors;
  • Financial advisors;
  • Marketing representatives;
  • Brand managers; and
  • Anyone who is employed by or associated with anyone otherwise defined as an agent (e.g. “runners”).

Vanderbilt’s Agent Policy

Vanderbilt Athletics policy mandates that all agents who attempt to contact student-athletes must be appropriately registered with and certified by the State of Tennessee through the Secretary of State’s office. Vanderbilt Athletics provides structured opportunities for student-athletes to interact with agents through interview days. Student-athletes should contact the compliance staff if they receive inquiries from agents in order to determine the appropriate response.

Student-Athlete Employment

Your employment, paid or unpaid, can have a significant impact on your eligibility. All student-athletes are required to complete an employment form prior to beginning any employment. As part of this process, you and your employer will sign a written statement verifying:

  • You obtained the employment through normal hiring procedures available to other applicants;
  • You are not receiving payment based on any publicity, reputation, fame, or personal following you have gained from your athletics ability;
  • You are compensated only for work you have actually performed;
  • Your rate of pay is the normal rate of pay for the duties performed and job qualifications;
  • You are only paid for hours actually worked;
  • Any benefits provided to you (e.g. transportation, meals, merchandise discounts) are available to all employees;
  • Your name, image, or athletics reputation are not used in any way in association with the business.
  • You employment otherwise complies with Vanderbilt, Southeastern Conference, and NCAA regulations.

Private Lessons

You may receive compensation for teaching or coaching sports skills on a fee-for-lesson basis if you meet the following conditions:

  • You submit a form to compliance staff detailing the (1) dates of the lessons, (2) the recipient of the lessons and (3) compensation received for each lesson;
  • You may not use institutional facilities, including facilities operated outside of Athletics (e.g. David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center, basketball court in dormitory courtyard) to conduct private lessons;
  • Compensation is paid by the lesson recipient or the recipient’s family members;
  • Your name and image are not used to promote or advertise the fee-for-lesson instruction (including posts from social media accounts bearing your name); and
  • You do not conduct “playing lessons” (i.e., you can’t get paid to only play someone and not teach them).

Student-athletes should also be mindful of any sport-specific amateurism regulations (i.e. USGA amateurism requirements) that would prohibit them from providing private lessons for compensation.

Student-Athlete Appearances

Always contact the compliance staff before you make an appearance at a public or promotional event, regardless of the event organizer or beneficiary (e.g. charity, nonprofit, business, school, sports organization). The compliance staff will review the request and inform you of any applicable rules relating to the appearance.

Outside Competition

Student-athletes must receive pre-approval from the Athletics Compliance staff prior to participating in any outside competition. If you anticipate in participating in any organized outside competition, you must complete the outside competition form and submit it to the compliance staff prior to participating in the competition.

Some outside competitions offer prize money based on performance. Student-athletes should consult compliance staff prior to participating in these competitions to determine whether this prize money may be accepted and what kinds of documentation are needed to accept the prize money (i.e. hotel bills, food receipts, and other documentation of necessary expenses). Failure to consult compliance staff prior to accepting prize money or participation in outside competition could result in ineligibility, forfeiture of prize money, and other consequences.

 

Financial Aid

Athletics Scholarships – What’s covered?

An athletics scholarship may cover up to the cost of tuition, required fees, room, board, books, and miscellaneous expenses related to attendance as determined by Vanderbilt University’s Office of Financial Aid. The amounts specified in a student-athlete’s athletics financial aid agreement are guaranteed for duration of the agreement. Athletics scholarships may not be reduced, cancelled, or non-renewed for athletics reasons, but action may be taken if a student-athlete is ineligible, voluntarily withdraws from the team, violates the Vanderbilt Student-Athlete Conduct policy, the Vanderbilt Student Accountability Policy, or the Vanderbilt Honor Code. A student-athlete must be notified in writing of any reduction or cancellation of a financial aid agreement during the period of eligibility. The student-athlete is entitled to appeal this decision through the University Athletics Committee, and the appropriate appeal procedure will be included in the letter notifying the student-athlete of the reduction or cancellation.

Summer school is not included in the scholarship and must be applied for and awarded per the Athletics Department’s established process.  Please see the Academic Support section for details regarding summer financial aid.

Expenses Not Covered by Athletics Scholarships

NCAA rules and Vanderbilt policy restrict the fees and expenses that may be paid by Vanderbilt University. Charges that may not be paid by your athletics scholarships include:

  • Parking tickets, parking passes, traffic fines;
  • Fines/invoices for damage to University property, including your dorm room;
  • Library fines;
  • Fees associated with Panhellenic life;
  • Replacement of your student ID card;
  • Replacement fees for lost residence hall keys;
  • Replacement fees for loss of issued athletics equipment;
  • Telephone bills;
  • Non-required field trips for class, etc….

Outside Aid

All student-athletes should consult with the compliance staff before accepting aid provided by sources outside of Vanderbilt University.  All student-athletes are required to report all forms of financial aid and outside scholarships received.  If additional funds are needed due to your financial need, please see the Office of Student Financial Aid for possible options.  You may qualify as a recipient of both an athletic scholarship and federal funds in the form of a Pell Grant.

Additional Financial Assistance

Student-athletes should also be aware that the Student Athlete Opportunity Fund may be available to assist student-athletes under certain circumstances.  Please see your Sport Administrator, Head Coach, or any compliance staff member to learn more about this fund.

 

Miscellaneous Benefits

Complimentary Admissions to Vanderbilt Sporting Events

Complimentary admissions are distributed to student-athletes in accor­dance with NCAA and SEC rules and regulations. Under NCAA guidelines, student-athletes and their guests are not permitted to receive hard tickets. However, student-athletes may receive up to four complimentary admissions for each game in their respective sport. All requests will be made through the JumpForward compliance system.  All admissions will be issued via a pass list, and all guests will be required to show identification to be admitted to the athletic competition.

Please note that sports agents and advisors may not receive complimentary admissions at any time nor should they be added to a player pass list.

All student-athletes that wish to attend football and men’s and women’s basketball games receive their tickets the same way the general student population acquires their game tickets. The student ticket policy is dis­tributed to the general student population prior to the start of the football and basketball seasons.

 

Non-Scholarship Student-Athletes

The University extends to all non-scholarship student-athletes (recruited or non-recruited) the same basic benefits and privileges as those for scholarship student-athletes (excluding grant-in-aid awards). Once certified as eligible to participate, a student-athlete may receive the following benefits:

  • Academic counseling and support
  • Meals incidental to participation in athletics
  • Access to Sports Medicine resources and athletic trainers
  • Use of strength and conditioning facilities
  • Access to Life Skills resources
  • Team travel and equipment use
  • Letterwinner Awards (if eligible)

 

Time Management and Countable Activity

Time Management Plan

The student-athlete Time Management Plan (“TMP”) is intended to provide advance notice of athletically-related activities help student-athletes effectively manage their schedules and plan academic and non-athletically related activities. A TMP will be available through Teamworks at the beginning of the year, and outlines the general structure of your practice schedule as well as any required days off. Participation in any required or countable athletically related activities is prohibited during these required days off. Medical, academic, and voluntary activities (initiated by student-athlete) are exempted and may occur on a day off.

 

Student-athletes are encouraged to review their TMP in advance of the start of the academic year and ask questions or provide comments.

 

Countable Athletically-Related Activities

NCAA rules limit how many hours student-athletes can spend participating in “Countable Athletically Related Activities,” also known as “CARA.” For an activity to be countable, it must be a required activity with an athletics purpose. For example, a required team meeting to discuss a community service opportunity would not be countable because there is not an athletics purpose to that activity. The CARA hour limits differ depending on whether your sport is in its declared playing season.

During the declared playing season, CARA is limited to 20 hours per week and 4 hours per day. Coaches are also required to provide student-athletes with one day off per week during the declared playing season.

Outside of the declared playing season, CARA is limited to 8 hours per week, which may only consist of skill instruction and strength and conditioning. Coaches are also required to provide student-athletes with two days off per week outside of the declared playing season.

Who Can Coach You in Practice?

NCAA rules limit the number of individuals who may participate in coaching-related activities in any sport. Generally, only full time coaches, graduate assistants (football only), volunteer coaches (sports other than football and basketball only), and volunteer coaches may provide coaching or tactical instruction to student-athletes. Strength and conditioning coaches are limited to conducting flexibility, warm-up, and physical conditioning activities and are not permitted to engage in skill-related instruction involving any sport-specific equipment. Other staff members (e.g. director of operations, special assistants) may not be involved in any coaching-related activities with you or observe any voluntary practice activities when coaches are not otherwise allowed to be present (e.g. pick-up game outside of the season. These rules are often complex, so please contact the compliance staff with any questions or concerns.

 

Recruiting

Student Host Responsibilities and Expectations

The student host’s role in the recruiting process is essential for Vanderbilt Athletics. Coaches and staff shall carefully select student hosts committed to conducting themselves in a manner that reflects positively on the University. Current student-athletes violating any laws or University policies, in addition to other discipline/sanctions, may not be eligible to entertain a prospective student-athlete for at least one calendar year from the time of the violation.

Coaching staffs shall discuss expectations with the student host prior to each campus visit and require the student host to review and sign the Pre-Visit Host Form.  Student hosts may receive funds in accordance with NCAA rules to cover the actual entertainment costs of the student host, prospective student-athlete, and up to four family members accompanying the prospective student-athlete. Host funds may not be used for behaviors or activities deemed inappropriate or impermissible pursuant to NCAA rules.

Each sport program and head coach shall establish reasonable curfews as deemed appropriate for the visit. Coaches and staff shall maintain regular communication with the PSA and/or student host when not under direct supervision to ensure activities are appropriate, safe, and healthy. Coaches, staff, student hosts, and PSAs should note that Nashville Metro police have instituted curfew for individuals under the age of 18 that may also be enforced (applicable to off-campus activity).

At the conclusion of each visit, the student host will be review the visit with the coaching staff and sign the Post-Visit Host Form.

The following policies and NCAA rules apply to student hosts during campus visits:

OFFICIAL VISITS

  • Only one student-athlete may receive a meal if restaurant facilities are used.
  • A maximum of $75 per 24-hour period may be provided to cover all actual costs of entertaining the host, the PSA, and up to four family members accompanying the PSA. These funds may not be used for the purchase of souvenirs, such as t-shirts or other institutional mementos. The student host may receive an additional $40 per day for each additional prospect the host entertains.
  • Student hosts may not use vehicles provided or arranged for by any coach, institutional staff member or representative of athletics interests.
  • Student hosts must conduct all activities associated with the official visit within a 30-mile radius of campus.
  • Student hosts shall not permit recruiting conversations between PSAs, their family members, and impermissible individuals (i.e., boosters).
  • Visiting PSAs may engage in recreational or workout activities, provided such activities are not organized or observed by members of the coaching staff and are not designed to test the athletic abilities of the prospect.
  • Student hosts may receive complimentary admission when accompanying PSAs to campus athletic events.
  • Student hosts shall not allow a prospect to be subjected to any hazing/initiation activities.

UNOFFICIAL VISITS

  • The institution may not pay any expenses or provide entertainment, except a maximum of three complimentary admissions (five for nontraditional families) via a pass list to home athletics events at any facility within a 30-mile radius of Vanderbilt University’s main campus in which the program’s team practices or competes.
  • PSAs may stay in an enrolled student-athlete’s dormitory room. Per institutional policy, all guests of Vanderbilt students may stay in the student’s room at no cost.
  • Student hosts may only provide transportation to view practice/competition sites and institutional facilities within a 30 mile radius of campus.
  • All contact with PSAs and individuals accompanying them must take place within a one-mile radius of campus. Contact between current student-athletes and PSAs (and those accompanying PSAs) is permissible, provided it is not at the direction of athletics staff.
  • Student hosts shall not permit recruiting conversations between PSAs, their family members, and impermissible individuals (i.e., boosters).
  • Visiting PSAs may engage in recreational or workout activities, provided such activities are not organized or observed by members of the coaching staff and are not designed to test the athletic abilities of the prospect.
  • Student hosts shall not allow a prospect to be subjected to any hazing/initiation activities.

ALL CAMPUS VISITS

Student hosts are strictly prohibited from engaging in the following specific behaviors and activities:

  • Use of illegal drugs;
  • Illegal consumption, purchase, or possession of alcoholic beverages;
  • Use of escorts or exotic dancers;
  • Visitation to any adult entertainment facilities;
  • Gambling/gaming activities; and
  • Violation of city, state, and federal law.

Student hosts must also adhere to all rules set forth by Vanderbilt University in the student handbook – http://www.vanderbilt.edu/student_handbook/.

 

Reporting Violations and Grievances

Student-athletes are encouraged to report violations of any of the policies mentioned above or other misconduct (i.e. sexual misconduct, illegal activities, etc…) through channels outlined in the “Reporting Violations and Grievances” chart provided annually to student-athletes. The chart may also be found online at https://vucommodores.com/compliance/ .

 

Questions?

Contact Compliance Staff

Compliance staff offices are located on the second floor of the McGugin Complex near the Athletics Director Suite.

Additionally, contact information for the compliance staff may be found under the “Compliance” section of the staff directory available online at:  https://vucommodores.com/staff-directory/.