Discussion of NCAA Legislation: Clinics

If a student-athlete chooses to attend a coxswain or rowing clinic on a completely voluntary basis and completely at her own expense, there should not be any issues with NCAA rules. Please beware of the subtleties of the concept of ‘completely at the student-athlete’s expense’. For example, the athletic department cannot provide a school van to be used to go to the clinic. The same is true regarding attendance at indoor erg races. And, if the clinic is out of the local area and the only reason the student-athlete is near the clinic site is because they are there on a school supported winter or spring break trip, going to the clinic is probably not allowed.

Generally speaking, it would be impermissible for an NCAA member institution to mandate that one of their student-athletes attend a clinic. And it is also impermissible for an NCAA member institution to pay for any aspect of attendance. Two general principles apply. As we all know, there are many restrictions on the expenses that a school can pay for practice opportunities. (See section 16.8 of the NCAA manual.) There are also restrictions on the number of permissible coaches as well as a restriction on consultants having direct interaction with student-athletes. (See section 11.7 of the NCAA manual.)

For comparison with other sports, I could cite a pole vault clinic that was being given in northern California that included in its publicity that NCAA student-athletes were prohibited from attending because there would be sport instruction in the clinic.