Discussion of NCAA Legislation: Camps

Recently I have received a lot of inquiries from the membership with regard to coaches working at rowing camps. So it seems like a good time to put something out on the listserv.


First. let’s talk about an institution’s own sports camps and clinics. That is all governed by bylaw 13.12. You can certainly have prospects attend these camps, and it seems that most rowing camps run by college teams have high school aged people as their target market. “A member institution’s sports camp or clinic shall be open to any and all entrants (limited only by number and age).” (Please note the dramatic foreshadowing involved here.) So you can’t invite people based on height or erg score or even whether or not they have rowing or coxing experience. As long as the check clears, they are in. And if you have a numerical limit to the camp, you can’t pick people based on any criteria other than first come, first served. I think we all recognize that there is some aspect of these institutional camps enabling prospects to have the opportunity to experience a college’s facilities and coaching staff and to interact with the student-athletes who serve as counselors. And it does give a college the opportunity to really get to know some prospects in a much more intimate and hands on setting that your run of the mill contacts and evaluations. “However, an institutional staff member employed at any camp or clinic is prohibited from recruiting any prospect during the time period that the camp or clinic is conducted.” There is a lot of wiggle room here, but I would hope we all follow both the letter and the spirit of the rules.


So what about other non-institutional privately owned camps and clinics? Well, generally speaking, we college coaches can work at the Joe Bagofdonuts Rowing Camp as long as that non-institutional camp is run in the same manner as an institutional camp. Yes, here’s where that dramatic foreshadowing kicks in. A key provision of the non-institutional camp being run in the same manner as an institutional camp is that anybody can attend, limited only by number and age. So if the privately owned camp picks attendees based on erg score, for example, it’s a no-go as far as employing a college coach. You can check out In case anybody thinks I am off base on this, this was taken to a very high level at the NCAA and confirmed as accurate.


Back to the subject line of this e-mail. When is a camp not a camp? When it is formed in order to go to competitions. Then it is a local sports club or an outside team. I know that sometimes people cringe when I give an actual example rather than obtuse allusions. But I think I am on safe ground here. Many of the inquiries that I received have to do with the Southeast Junior Development Camp ( and the CSUS Aquatic Center’s Summer Pre-Elite/Development Junior Rowing Program ( Whether or not the word ‘camp’ appears in the title, these are not camps. They invite people on selective criteria and train and select them for competition at the USRowing nationals. Even if you argue that they are a camp, college coaches can’t work there because they are not open to everyone. However, “Participation by an institution’s athletics department staff member in recognized state, regional, national, or international training programs or competition organized and administered by the applicable governing body or athletics shall not be considered tryouts.” Well, I see that the Southeast camp is “sanctioned” by the USRA Youth Committee. I’ll not venture into the murk of whether or not this sanctioning satisfies the “organized and administered by” clause. I would think that before a college coach was to seek employment with such a camp/sports club/outside team, they would want to have their own compliance office run this up the NCAA flagpole.


This e-mail does not address the issue of college coaches coaching their own athletes or those of other colleges as part of camps or outside teams. That’s a separate but similar issue. Nor does this address too much with regard to college coaches working with masters camps, but generally speaking that is fine. It’s only when prospects or your own athletes attend that things can get complicated. And I haven’t address developmental clinics because they have been written out of the bylaws.