Institutional control of athletics is a fundamental requirement of NCAA legislation. Specifically, the NCAA constitution provides that each institution shall be responsible for:
- Controlling its intercollegiate athletics program in compliance with the rules and regulations of the NCAA;
- Monitoring its program to ensure compliance, identifying and reporting to the NCAA instances in which compliance has not been achieved and taking appropriate corrective actions; and
- Ensuring that members of the institution's staff, student-athletes and other individuals or groups representing the institution's athletics interests comply with NCAA regulations.
A "prospective student-athlete", known as a PSA, is any student who has started classes for the ninth grade. In addition, any younger student becomes a prospect if the institution provides such an individual (or his/her relatives or friends) any financial assistance or other benefits that the institution does not provide to prospective students generally. A prospective student-athlete remains a prospect even after he or she has signed a National Letter of Intent to attend the University of Cincinnati. Those enrolled at a preparatory school or two-year college are also considered prospects. The prospect remains a prospect until enrollment at the institution.
A "student-athlete", known as a SA, is student whose enrollment was solicited by a member of the athletics staff or other representative of athletics interest with a view toward the student's ultimate participation in the intercollegiate athletics program. Any other student becomes a student-athlete only when the student reports for an intercollegiate squad that is under the jurisdiction of the athletic department. A student is not deemed a student-athlete solely on the basis of prior high school athletic participation.
Any off-campus activity designed to asses the academic qualifications or athletic ability of a prospect, including any visit to a prospect's educational institution (during which no contact occurs) or the observation of the prospect's participating in any practice or competition at any site.
Any face-to-face encounter between a prospect, the prospect's parents, or legal guardian and an institutional staff representative during which any dialogue occurs in excess of an exchange of a greeting. Any such face-to-face encounter that is prearranged or that takes place on the grounds of the prospect's educational institution or at any site of an organized practice or competition involving the prospect or prospect's educational institution shall be considered a contact, regardless of the conversation that occurs.