Professionalism

An individual is not eligible for participation in an intercollegiate sport if that individual ever has been a professional in that sport. An individual becomes a professional if he or she: [Bylaw 12.1.3]

1. Signs a contract or commitment of any kind to participate in professional athletics in that sport, regardless of its legal enforceability or any consideration received;
2. Participates on a team and knows (or had reason to know) that the team is a professional athletics team (per 12.02.5) in that sport; or
3. Receives, directly or indirectly, a salary, reimbursement of expenses or any other form of financial assistance from a professional organization in that sport based upon athletics skill or participation, except as permitted by the Association's legislation.

Amateur Status if Professional in Another Sport.
A professional athlete in one sport may represent a member institution in a different sport. However, the student-athlete cannot receive institutional financial assistance in the second sport unless the student-athlete: [Bylaw 12.1.4]

1. Is no longer involved in professional athletics;
2. Is not receiving any remuneration from a professional sports organization; and
3. Has no active contractual relationship with any professional athletics team. However, an individual may remain bound by an option clause in a professional sports contract that requires assignment to a particular team if the student-athlete's professional career is resumed.

• You become a professional if you request that your name be placed on a professional league's draft list (e.g., the drafts conducted for the National Basketball Association and the National Football League).
• If you participate in a sport in which you are drafted without your consent (e.g., Major League Baseball), being drafted by a professional organization does not jeopardize your amateur status.

Exception-Professional Basketball Draft. A student-athlete in the sport of basketball may enter a professional league's draft one time during his or her collegiate career without jeopardizing eligibility in that sport, provided the student-athlete declares his or her intention to resume intercollegiate participation within 30 days after the draft. The student-athlete's declaration of intent shall be in writing to the institution's director of athletics. [Bylaw 12.1.4.2.1]


An individual may request information about professional market value without affecting his or her amateur status. Further, the individual, his or her legal guardians or the institution's professional sports counseling panel may enter into negotiations with a professional sports organization without the loss of the individual's amateur status. An individual who retains an agent shall lose amateur status. [12.2.4.3]


NCAA rules do not prohibit meetings or discussions with an agent, but you would jeopardize your collegiate eligibility in a sport if you agree (orally or in writing) to be represented by an agent, regardless of whether the agreement becomes effective immediately or after your last season of collegiate eligibility. Additionally, the receipt of any benefits or gifts by you, your family, or friends from such an individual would jeopardize your intercollegiate eligibility in that sport.

If an individual attempts to contact you regarding the marketing of your athletics ability in any manner, you should be careful. If you have concerns regarding a player agent, please contact your coach, The Athletic Director or the Athletic Compliance Office.


Question: Before and after the draft, I have been contacted by agents who wish to represent me. Can I reach an agreement with an agent to represent me without jeopardizing further eligibility for intercollegiate sports?
Answer: No. If you or your parents reach a verbal or written agreement with an agent, this will jeopardize your eligibility at an NCAA school.

Question: Is it true that it is permissible for a student-athlete to have an advisor, but not an agent? If so what is the difference between an advisor and an agent?
Answer: It is permissible for a student-athlete to have an advisor (but not an agent) without jeopardizing further eligibility at an NCAA school. Under NCAA regulations, a student-athlete and his parents are permitted to receive advice from a lawyer or other individual concerning a proposed professional sports contract, provided the advisor does not represent the student directly in negotiations for a contract. In this regard, it is permissible for an advisor to discuss the merits of a proposed contract with a student-athlete and give suggestions about the type of offer the student should consider. In order to maintain eligibility at an NCAA school, however, the advisor may not be used as a link between the student-athlete and the professional sports team or organization. If the advisor makes a direct contact with the professional team, the advisor shall be considered an agent and the student-athlete will have jeopardized future eligibility at an NCAA school. For example, an advisor may not be present during discussions of a contract offer with a professional team or have any direct contact (i.e., by persons, telephone or mail) with a professional sports team on the student's behalf. Finally, it is important to note that in order to maintain eligibility at an NCAA school, the student-athlete must compensate the advisor at his or her normal rate.

Question: May I receive any benefits (e.g., transportation or meals) from an agent or advisor without jeopardizing my NCAA eligibility?
Answer: No. A student-athlete will be ineligible if he/she accepts any transportation or other benefits from any person who wishes to represent him or her in the marketing of athletics ability. This rule does not prohibit a student from having a meal with someone who wishes to represent him/her, provided each pays for the actual cost of their meal and arranges for transportation separately.

Question: Am I permitted to negotiate directly with a professional sports team?
Answers: Yes. NCAA rules were changed in 1992 to allow a student-athlete and his parents or legal guardians to negotiate directly with a professional team. A student also is permitted to have a representnative of Bucknell University (e.g. sports counseling panel at an instiution) negotiate on his/her behalf.

Question: What type of role can my head coach play in helping me review options under these regulations?
Answer: A head coach is not permitted to negotiate on behalf of a student-athlete, regardless of whether the coach is a member of the institution's professional sports counseling panel. However, the coach is allowed to help in determining a student-athlete's market value by assisting him/her in determining when or if the student may be drafted and the compensation that may be offered. No coach, other than the head coach, is permitted to be involved in the review of the student-athlete's market value.

Question: May I reach any kind of agreement for a contract with a professional team and still retain eligibility?
Answer: No. If a student reaches a written or verbal agreement for any portion of the terms of a professional contract, he or she will have jeopardized future eligibility at an NCAA school.

Question: What happens to my eligibility if a professional team offers to fly me and my parents to its city to watch a ball game and meet with the local media? Is a representative of the team permitted to take me and my parents to dinner or entertain us in any other way?
Answer: In order to retain NCAA eligibility, a student-athlete is not permitted to receive any kind of entertainment expenses from the professional team. This includes a representative of a professional team purchasing a meal for the student-athlete or his/her parents or paying expenses for a visit to the city of the team for any reason whatsoever.

Question: Am I allowed to participate in a tryout with a professional team?
Answer: Yes, but only during the summer (beginning at the end of the academic year). Under these circumstances, a professional team is not permitted to provide any expenses for the tryout. Thus, if a student-athlete decides to travel to a particular place to participate in a tryout during the summer, all expenses associated with the tryout must be provided by the student-athlete. Accordingly, this means that a student-athlete will jeopardize eligibility if he/she participates in any professional league tryout camps that take place during the academic