Prospective Student-Athletes
Friday, October 30, 2009

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Prospective Student-Athletes

This website has been set up to help educate prospective student-athletes and their families about NCAA rules and what they need to know in order to be eligible to compete for Tennessee State University. Below are several links to the NCAA Eligibility Center, National Letter of Intent, SAT and ACT websites, and much more. All prospective student-athletes should visit each site and become familiar with the requirements to participate as a Division I student-athlete. This information may not cover every question that arises; however, it is designed to give a general description and hopefully answer some specific questions. One of the best sources of information can be found on our link to the Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete. This guide will assist prospective student-athletes in navigating not only through the Eligibility Center process, but also in recruiting situations and standardized testing. If you have any questions about NCAA rules, please contact the Athletic Compliance Office.

Quick Reference Materials

Informational Guides

Presentations and Courses

National Letter of Intent (NLI)

Other Communications Tools and Links

Graduation Success Rate (GSR) Report

So you are aware, NCAA rules and regulations prohibit coaches and administrative personnel from sending letters or electronic mail to high school students or his/her parents or legal guardians until after September 1 of their junior year in high school (In men's basketball, it is permissible to provide recruiting materials to a prospect after June 15 at the end of his sophomore year in high school). While we are not permitted to write or e-mail high school students if they are not eligible per the above restriction, high school students are permitted to telephone coaches and administrators prior to the completion of their junior year in high school, but only at the high school student's expense.

Prospective student-athletes are also permitted to contact the admissions office for information regarding Tennessee State University and its academic programs at any time. You may call our admissions office at (615) 963-5101 or visit the Admissions website.

WARNING: If you are a student-athlete enrolled at another four-year institution or if you have been enrolled at another four-year institution in the last year (Division I, II or III), NCAA rules and regulations strictly prohibit us from having any communication with you, directly or indirectly, until that institution grants our institution permission to contact you. You may obtain this permission to contact at the compliance office of your current or previous institution.

For general correspondence, you can also use the Athletic Staff Directory.

NLI Signing Dates

Prospective Student-Athletes Signing in 2014-2015 and Enrolling the 2015-2016 academic year:


Initial Signing  Date

Final Signing Date

Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Softball, Tennis, Track & Field, Volleyball (Early Period)

November 12, 2014

November 19, 2014

Football (Midyear JC Transfer)

December 17, 2014

January 15, 2015

Football (Regular Period)

February 4, 2015

April 1, 2015

Basketball (Regular Period)

April 15, 2015

May 20, 2015

Cross Country, Golf, Softball, Tennis,   Track & Field, Volleyball (Regular Period)

April 15, 2015

August 1, 2015

Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of commonly asked questions that addresses many of the critical areas of compliance. If you have specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact the compliance office at (615) 963-5889.

Q: Who is a prospective student-athlete?

A: A prospective student-athlete or a prospect is a student who has started classes for the ninth grade. A student who has not yet started ninth grade may become a prospect if Tennessee State University or a booster provided the student, their relatives, or friends with financial assistance or benefit that is not generally provided to prospective students. In addition, student-athletes enrolled in preparatory school or two-year colleges, or those who have officially drawn from a four-year school, are considered prospects. Special Note: A prospect remains a prospect even after he/she has signed a National Letter of Intent or accepted an offer of admission or financial aid to attend Tennessee State University. A prospect becomes a current student-athlete only when he/she reports for preseason practice or the first day of fall classes, whichever occurs first.

Q: What is recruiting?

A: Recruiting is the solicitation of a prospect or the prospect's parent(s) or legal guardian(s) by a Tennessee State University staff member for the purpose of securing the prospect's enrollment at Tennessee State University and/or participation in our athletics program. Recruiting activities include correspondence, email, faxes, telephone conversations, in person contacts (on and off campus), and evaluations.

Q: What is a Contact?

A: A contact is any face-to-face encounter between a prospect or the prospect's parent(s), relative(s) or legal guardian(s) and a University staff member or booster during which any dialogue in excess of an exchange of a greeting occurs. Any encounter that is prearranged or that takes place on the grounds of the prospect's school or at the site of organized competition or practice is considered a contact regardless of the conversation (including a greeting) that occurs.

Q: What is an evaluation?

A: An evaluation is any off-campus activity designed to assess the academic qualifications or athletics ability of a prospect, including any visit to a prospect's educational institution (during which no contact occurs) or the observation of a prospect participating in any practice or competition at any site.

Q: What is an official visit?

A: An official visit by a prospect is a visit to campus that is financed in whole or in part by Tennessee State University.

  • An official visit may not exceed 48 hours in duration.
  • Tennessee State University may pay the prospect's transportation costs for his or her official visit, provided a direct route between the prospect's home and the institution is used.
  • Tennessee State University may also entertain a prospect and his or her parents or legal guardians during an official visit provided the entertainment takes place on the institution's campus or within a 30-mile radius, and is at a scale comparable to that of normal student life.
  • As a reminder, boosters are not permitted to have contact with a prospect during his or her official visit.

Q: What is an unofficial visit?

A: An unofficial visit by a prospect is a visit made to Tennessee State University at the prospect's own expense. If any expenses are paid by Tennessee State University or booster, the visit will become an official visit.

Q: What is an extra benefit or inducement?

A: An extra benefit or recruiting inducement is any special arrangement by an institutional employee or booster to provide a current student-athlete, prospect, or their relatives or friends a benefit not expressly authorized by NCAA legislation. Examples of impermissible recruiting inducements and extra benefits include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Cash or loans in any amount, or signing or cosigning for a loan.
  • Gifts of any kind, including birthday and holiday gifts.
  • Free or reduced-cost services such as car repairs, haircuts, tutoring, etc.
  • The use of an automobile.
  • Free or reduced rent or housing.
  • Tickets to an athletic or community event.
  • Academic course supplies or assistance.
  • Arranging the employment of the relatives or friends of a prospect or student-athlete.
  • Entertaining a prospect or prospect's family or legal guardian on or off campus.