A college athlete can’t accept a direct or indirect salary if they wish to maintain their amateur status and remain eligible for intercollegiate competition. However, the NCAA does make an allowance that permits student-athletes to receive one-time bonus money from an event that is considered the most important competition of the year in their respective sports. The amount of these payments is dependent on the college athlete or team's place finish or performance and can vary from year to year.
If you are an elite athlete with an opportunity to play for a national team, it is essential that you understand what compensation you are allowed to accept without putting your collegiate eligibility at risk. Proactively consulting an NCAA attorney is the best way to avoid making a mistake that could put your future at risk.
Payment Rules for College Athletes From the United States
A college athlete from the United States may accept funds that are administered by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee pursuant to its Operation Gold program. Operation Gold Awards apply to top-place finishes in a sport’s most competitive senior international competition of the year. This is the Olympic and Paralympic Games in even-numbered years. In odd-numbered years, it is typically world championship or world cup events.
Payment Rules for International Athletes
According to our NCAA attorney, international athletes still in college are permitted to accept funds from their country’s national Olympic and/or Paralympic governing body that is equivalent to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. The payment must be based on a place finish in one event per year that is considered the highest level of international competition by the governing body.
Our NCAA Attorney is Here to Help
As an NCAA athlete, you have a bright future ahead of you. It is crucial that you understand what payments you are allowed to accept for your athletic participation. If you accept funds improperly, there’s no going back. You risk losing your eligibility and having your college team retroactively stripped of its titles or other results you’ve worked hard to achieve.
Our NCAA attorney can ensure that accepting a payment won’t put your collegiate eligibility at risk. We will work closely with your sport’s governing body and your college so that you protect your college achievements and eligibility and can continue playing the sport you love.
Understanding the Rules that Govern NCAA Eligibility
If you're a college athlete and are concerned about your NCAA eligibility—regardless of the reason—you need to speak with an experienced NCAA attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call us directly at +1-207-747-5899 to schedule your free consultation.
Our firm is devoted to the very specific practice of sports law and has represented athletes from all corners of the United States. Don't hesitate. Contact our NCAA attorney today.