The NCAA is removing some of the restrictions placed on student-athletes and opening up new opportunities for these athletes. The most recent rule changes have been set and they relate to student-athlete crowdfunding.
The new regulations are as follows:
- 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 institution’s 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 he or she does not mention his or 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 can’t act as a spokesperson for a company (crowdfunding or otherwise).
- A crowdfunding entity can’t 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 institution’s crowdfunding campaign may not include a co-sponsorship with a for-profit organization and use a current student-athlete’s name, image or likeness.
In short, student-athletes are now allowed to crowdfund, provided they follow the above rules. This is a positive move in the direction of allowing student-athletes to monetize their brands and benefit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL).
SPRTER and fundraising
SPRTER wants to be at the forefront of this revolution and help student-athletes highlight their achievements and monetize their talent within the framework of the NCAA. Our sport-specific social media app, SPRTER, includes a crowdfunding section where athletes can do just this through the Support Me section on their profile:
The SPRTER app allows student-athletes to capitalize on the new NCAA rules and crowdfund responsibly. In addition, athletes can build their brand on the SPRTER app so that they can be valuable and profitable immediately when they leave college. However, the NCAA has strict procedures in place and misuse of the crowdfunding feature on the SPRTER app could have serious consequences. Therefore, we encourage student-athletes competing in the NCAA system to consult with their compliance officer before adding this feature to their profile.
The SPRTER app is NCAA compliant
We have worked with NCAA compliance officers to ensure the SPRTER app is NCAA compliant and safe for student-athletes or sporters (sports influencers: athletes, former athletes, coaches, teams, leagues, brands, etc.), as we like to call them. Therefore, we have implemented the following steps to comply with NCAA regulations and safeguard student-athletes’ NCAA eligibility.
- The SPRTER app is free to download and use.
- This means there are no fee for users to access the athletes’ profiles and content. 100% free
- There are no fees for athletes to create a profile, post on the app, and/or view other athletes’ and supporters’ profiles and content. 100% free.
- There are no commercial advertisements included on the athletes’ profiles.
- We have added a warning pop-up notification for all users before they add the “Support Me” section. While NCAA athletes are allowed to fundraise when they follow the rules outlined above, we encourage student athletes competing in the NCAA system to consult with their compliance officer before adding this feature to their profile.