Interacting with Student-Athletes

3 things for faculty to know about student athletes in their class.

  1. Absenteeism - The 12 day rule
    Students who participate in athletic or extracurricular activities are permitted to be absent 12 scholastic days per semester without penalty. (A scholastic day is any day on which regular class work is scheduled.) Instructors must be flexible when scheduling exams or other class assignments. The 12-day rule applies to individual students participating on athletic or scholastic teams. Read More
  2. Make up work & exams
    Students absent under the policy of the 12 day rule will be permitted a reasonable amount of time to make up the material or activities covered in their absence. Read More
  3. Do I have to treat student athletes any differently than the rest of the my students?
    No. Other than the concessions explained in the 12 day rule, you shouldn't treat student athletes any differently from the rest of your students. In fact, many types of differential treatment are a violation of NCAA rules. Read More

NCAA Rules Pertaining to Faculty and Student Athletes

The NCAA has strict guidelines pertaining to faculty interaction with currently enrolled student-athletes as well as prospective student-athletes (recruits). It is very important that all university faculty and staff be informed of these basics rules to ensure that no violations occur that might affect the reputation of the University of Florida and potentially affect any student-athlete’s educational and athletic endeavors.

Extra Benefits

As a basic principle, enrolled student-athletes are not permitted to receive any extra benefits from University of Florida faculty and staff. 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 interests to provide a student-athlete or the student-athlete’s relative or friend a benefit not expressly authorized by NCAA legislation. Receipt of a benefit by student-athletes or their relatives or friends is not a violation of NCAA legislation if it is demonstrated that the same benefit is generally available to the institution’s students or their relatives or friends or to a particular segment of the student body (e.g., international students, minority students) determined on a basis unrelated to athletics ability.” Basically, an extra benefit is anything that you give to a student-athlete based on his or her status as a student-athlete that you would not generally provide to other students.

Below are examples of extra benefits (please note this list is not an all inclusive list)

  • The use of a copy machine or typing services that are not available to the general student body;
  • Providing any transportation or the use of an automobile to an enrolled student-athlete;
  • Purchasing meals, drinks, or snacks for any student-athletes;
  • Allowing a student-athlete to charge long-distance phone calls or faxes from UF equipment;


In the case of prospective student-athletes (recruit), faculty and staff members are not permitted to have off-campus contact or to recruit on behalf of the athletic department. At the University of Florida, we like to say, “Leave the recruiting to the people that do it best—the coaches!” Also, it is never permissible for any university employee or staff member to provide a prospective student-athlete with any improper benefit or inducement to persuade them to attend the University of Florida.

Below are examples of recruiting that the NCAA has deemed IMPERMISSIBLE by UF faculty and staff (please note this list is not an all inclusive list)

  • Contact a prospective student-athlete in-person on-campus or off-campus;
  • Contact a prospective student-athlete by telephone, e-mail, letter, or social media (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, etc.);
  • Provide gifts or free or reduced-cost services to a prospective student-athlete or the prospective student-athlete’s relatives/guardians;
  • Become directly or indirectly involved in making arrangements for a prospective student-athlete or the prospective student-athlete’s relatives or guardian to receive money or financial aid of any kind;
  • Provide any material benefit (e.g., meals, cash) to the coach of a prospect, including high school, two-year college, AAU and summer team coaches;
  • Provide free or reduced-cost tickets for a prospect or the prospect’s relatives or guardian to attend an athletic event.; or
  • Provide transportation for a prospect or the prospect’s relatives or guardian.

There is a fine line between recruiting on behalf of the University of Florida as an academic institution and recruiting on behalf of the athletic department. Below are some examples that can help demonstrate the difference:

Situation 1: Academic Recruiting

You are presenting to a high school class as part of your role as a professor at the University of Florida. After your presentation, you are approached by a student that says he is really interested in attending the University of Florida. The conversation leads to you talking to him about how to apply to UF, advice on extra curricular activities that will help him stand out above everyone else, and general information about UF’s academic and research opportunities.

Is this permissible?

Yes, this is permissible because even though you are recruiting, you are recruiting for UF as an academic institution.

Situation 2: Conversations about Athletics

However, let’s continue with this example and say that after you are done presenting, you are approached by a student that mentions that he is interested in attending the University of Florida, but he also mentions that he is a football player and wants to attend a school where he can receive an athletic scholarship and play football.

Is this permissible?

No, this is not permissible, any conversation about athletics can lead to impermissible contact and recruiting on behalf of the athletic department. Our advice would be to avoid this type of conversation as it may lead to impermissible recruiting for the athletic department. However, you may direct the student to contact the athletic department on their own to express their interest in attending UF and playing football.

Situation 3: Conversations about Academics

You are attending your son’s high school basketball game. After the game your son introduces you to his friend on the opposing team. Your son mentions that his friend is interested in attending UF. You respond by saying that UF is a great academic and research institution that offers more than 100 undergraduate majors. You also mention that if he needs any help or advice on the application process to contact you.

Is this permissible?

Yes, this is permissible because again, the conversation is strictly about UF’s academics.

Situation 4: Athletic Recruiting

However, let’s continue with this example and say that when you are introduced to your son’s friend he mentions that the basketball program is currently recruiting him, as he is a four star prospect. In response, you then ask what other schools he is interested in attending. He mentions other schools in the state of Florida, as well as other SEC schools. You respond by saying that UF’s basketball team is one of the best in the country, having won five SEC regular season titles and two national championships.

Is this permissible?

No, this is not permissible because the situation is now geared more towards UF’s basketball program and it may appear that you are recruiting the prospective student-athlete to attend UF to help the basketball team.

Situation 5: Giving away an old t-shirt

You are hosting a dinner party and your daughter brings some of her soccer teammates. One of her teammates mentions that she is being recruited by UF and is going to the soccer game on Friday, but doesn’t have anything to wear. You respond by telling the teammate that your daughter has some old Gator t-shirts that she can have.

Is this permissible?

No, because once she mentions that she is being recruited by the soccer program, you cannot give her anything to encourage or persuade her to attend UF, even something as small as an old Gator t-shirt.


For a more comprehensive look at interacting with student-athletes see  Compliance 101(PDF) and  Compliance Connection Between Athletics and Faculty and Staff   (PDF).