University Interscholastic League
University Interscholastic League

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Guidelines for Booster Clubs

These Booster Club Guidelines are published by the University Interscholastic League (UIL) in order to assist schools and parents with determining the proper role for local booster clubs to play as they support the students who participate in UIL sponsored contests and activities.  These guidelines are general in nature and are not intended to provide legal advice or act as a substitute for the UIL Constitution and Contest Rules.  In case of any disagreement between these guidelines and the law or UIL rules, the law and/or UIL rules, as applicable, will control.  These Guidelines are not a substitute for an opinion from the State Executive Committee and may not be relied upon as such. These Guidelines are subject to change by UIL staff at any time and without notice.

Download the Booster Club Guidelines PDF

ROLE OF BOOSTER CLUBS
Neighborhood patrons form booster clubs to help enrich the school’s participation in extracurricular activities. The fundraising role of booster clubs is particularly crucial in today’s economic climate. Positive and direct communication can prevent most problems. Keep the superintendent informed of all activities.

• Have a chain of command for communication with the administration.

• Clear all activities through your administration.

• The superintendent or a designee who does not coach or direct a UIL contest but has approval authority over booster clubs should be invited to all meetings. All meetings should be open to the public.

• Booster clubs should apprise school administrators of all club activities. Make sure your local administration has a copy of all booster club publications. Invite administrators to all booster club meetings. Have an officer meet with the school administration regularly.

• School administration should apprise booster clubs of all school activities.

• Booster clubs do not have authority to direct the duties of a school district employee. The scheduling of contests, rules for participation, methods of earning letters and all other criteria dealing with inter-school programs are under the jurisdiction of the local school administration.

• Minutes should be taken at each meeting and kept on file at the school.

• Periodic financial statements itemizing all receipts and expenditures should be made to the general club membership and kept on file at the school.

ROLE OF THE SUPERINTENDENT
Member schools make UIL rules and determine policies regarding penalties to schools, school district personnel and student participants. The superintendent is solely responsible for the entire UIL program. All school activities, organizations (including the booster club), events and personnel are under the jurisdiction of the superintendent. Booster clubs must recognize this authority and work within a framework prescribed by the school administration.
PARENTS

• Remember: The classroom comes first!

• Help conduct fair and equitable competition: adhere to rules, uphold the law and respect authority.

• Remember that officials are human. Respect their decisions.

• Delegate authority to the school, and then support its decisions.

• Set standards by which you expect children to conduct themselves, and live by those standards yourself.

• Be aware of capabilities and limitations of young people. Don’t have unrealistic expectations.

• Allow your children to live their own lives.

• Be involved in areas in which your own child is not involved, thus contributing to school unity and spirit.

• Show respect to the opponents of your children.

• Praise. Don’t criticize. Urge others to do the same.

• Help your children and their friends develop integrity through the intensity of competitive activity.

COACHES AND DIRECTORS

• Be sure your booster club wish list has been approved by your supervisor before it goes to the booster club.

• Work with your administration to determine what your club can provide.

• Make your request to the club benefit as many students as possible.

• Attend the booster club meetings and/or know what the club is doing.

• Understand that your advisory role to the boosters is without vote.

• Support other programs within your district.

• Meet with parents regularly and make them aware of relevant rules.

• Involve your staff with your booster club. Let the booster club know who your staff is and what duties they perform.

WRITTEN POLICIES
Booster clubs should develop and annually review policies to cover:

• how to obtain administrative approval before beginning projects;

• how to plan and publicize meetings;

• bookkeeping and fund administration including process to obtain superintendent’s approval prior to raising or spending funds;

• election of officers (suggestion: one president; one secretary; one treasurer; and three vice-presidents: one vice-president to oversee fall, winter and spring sports);

• taking, distributing and filing minutes;

• public communication;

• proper interaction with music and theatre directors and academic and athletic coaches through the lines of authority as established by the school board;

• a sportsmanship code governing behavior of booster club members and fans at contests, treatment of officials, guests, judges, etc.; and

• plans to support the school regardless of success in competition, keeping the educational goals of competition at the forefront of all policies.

CLUB FINANCES
Fund-raising projects maybe subject to state law. Be sure that your club is in compliance with applicable law.  For example, Texas has a law governing raffles.  Also, consider seeking nonprofit or tax-exempt status.  Consult the Texas Secretary of State’s website as well as the IRS to determine if seeking designation as a non-profit that is tax exempt is appropriate for your booster club.  http://www.sos.state.tx.us/corp/nonprofit_org.shtml ;

Booster clubs may make recommendations, but cash or other valuable consideration must be given to the school to use at its discretion. Generally speaking, earnings by a properly organized booster club may not benefit any private shareholder or individual. 

• Community-wide sales campaigns should be coordinated through the school administration to minimize simultaneous sales campaigns.

• Sales campaigns should be planned carefully to insure that the projects provide dollar value for items sold, and that most of the money raised stays at home. Otherwise donations are often more rewarding than letting the major part of the money go to outside promoters.

• Fund-raising activities should support the educational goals of the school and should not exploit students. Activities and projects should be investigated carefully before committing the school’s support.

• Individuals who actively coach or direct a UIL activity should serve in an advisory capacity only to the booster club and should not have control or signature authority over booster club funds, including petty cash or miscellaneous discretionary funds. 

• Coach’s wish lists should have received prior approval from school administration before submission to boosters.

• Coaches and directors of UIL academics, athletics and fine arts may not accept more than $500 in money, product or service from any source in recognition of or appreciation for coaching, directing or sponsoring UIL activities. The $500 limit is cumulative for a calendar year and is not specific to any one particular gift. See Section 481, UIL Constitution and Contest Rules.

• Schools shall not pay to coaches, and coaches shall not accept, funds gathered by a high school booster club or other sources within the school district.  See Section 1202(b), UIL Constitution and Contest Rules.

• Funds are to be used to support school activities. To provide such funding for non-school activities could violate UIL rules and the public trust through which funds are earned.

ATHLETIC BOOSTERS

Individuals should be informed of the seriousness of violating the athletic amateur rule found in Section 441 and the awards rule found in Section 480 of the UIL Constitution and Contest Rules. Check with school administrators before giving anything to a student, school sponsor or coach. The penalty to a student-athlete is forfeiture of varsity athletic eligibility in the sport for which the violation occurred for one calendar year from the date of the violation. If a team violates the amateur rule, the penalty shall be assessed against the team and not against each individual. See Section 441(d), UIL Constitution and Contest Rules. All fans, not just members of the booster club, should be aware of these rules. It affects the entire community.

• Athletic booster club funds shall not be used to support athletic camps, clinics, private instruction or any activity outside of the school.

• The local school district determines when, how and from whom student athletes can receive meals and snacks. See Section 441(b)(9), UIL Constitution and Contest Rules.

• Schools must give prior approval for any banquet or get-together given for students.

• Students may not accept money or other valuable consideration from school booster club funds for any non-school purpose.  See Section 441(A)(3), UIL Constitution and Contest Rules.

• Student athletes are prohibited from accepting valuable consideration for participation in school athletics (anything that is not given or offered to the entire student body on the same basis that it is given or offered to an athlete). See Section 441(a), UIL Constitution and Contest Rules. Valuable consideration is defined as tangible or intangible property or service including anything that is usable, wearable, salable or consumable.

• Booster groups or individuals may donate money or merchandise to the school with prior approval of the administration. These kinds of donations are often made to cover the cost of commercial transportation and to cover costs for meals. It would be a violation for booster groups or individuals to pay for such costs directly, without prior approval from the local school administration. See Section 441(b)(9) and Section 840 (a)(2)(A)(iv), UIL Constitution and Contest Rules.

• Student athletes may accept small “goodie bags” consisting of cookies, candy and symbolic gifts from their classmates, if allowed by local school policy. See Section 441(B)(7), UIL Constitution and Contest Rules.

ACADEMIC BOOSTERS

We encourage academic booster clubs, whether they cover UIL academic competition in general or specific programs such as theatre, speech/debate, journalism or math/ science. A great need exists for parental involvement and support.

The rules for athletics are different than the rules for academics and music. Athletes are restricted by the Athletic Amateur Rule, which states that athletes cannot accept money or valuable consideration for participating in a UIL sport or for allowing their names to be used in promoting a product, plan or service related to a UIL contest. Academics has no amateur rule. Journalism participants may work for a newspaper and be paid. Actors may work summer stock and be paid. Students may win calculators and software for participating in invitational math contests.
UIL academic students are restricted by the Awards Rule. See Section 480, UIL Constitution and Contest Rules. So, as a general practice, booster clubs should not give gifts or awards to students for their participation in UIL contests that count toward district, region or state standing without prior school district approval. School booster clubs may raise money to purchase letter jackets, provided the funds are given to the school without designation to buy jackets for particular students and the school determines criteria for awarding the jackets. Parents may purchase jackets for their own children provided the school designates the student as being qualified to receive the jacket.
Booster Clubs may raise money to provide an annual banquet for academic participants and coaches.

EXAMPLES OF ACADEMIC BOOSTER CLUB CONTRIBUTIONS THAT ARE NOT PROHIBITED BY UIL RULE, WITH LOCAL ADMINISTRATIVE APPROVAL, ARE:

• Purchase equipment for programs such as computers or software for yearbook or computer science;

• Organize and chaperone trips and assist with expenses for travel to academic competitions or educational trips such as journalism conventions or speech tournaments. Booster club funds may be used to provide food and refreshments for students on these trips. A purely recreational trip would not meet the definition of an educational field trip and could be considered a violation of the Awards Rule. See Section 480(2)(d), UIL Constitution and Contest Rules. 

• Run tournaments, organize fund-raising efforts, recruit corporate donors, raise money for scholarships and arrange for tutors and professional trainers to work with students;

• Fund academic workshop scholarships provided selection of the recipients is not based solely on their success in interscholastic competition. Selection could be based on grade point average or the student’s selection of high school courses. All students meeting the conditions for scholarship assistance should be notified and eligible for financial assistance. Funds should be monitored to ensure that they are expended for camp or workshop purposes.

MUSIC BOOSTERS

In addition to the general procedures outlined, the following guidelines apply to Music Booster Club activities.

• Be mindful of the fact that there is no Music Amateur Rule. Therefore, limitations established in athletics intended to ensure compliance with the Athletic Amateur Rule do not apply to music programs and related activities.

• Some music booster clubs assist with expenses for travel to various music-related activities such as UIL contests and performances at away athletic events. Such financial support violates no UIL rules provided that it is approved and coordinated by the local school district.

• Many music groups schedule educational field trips with the approval of the local school administration and under local school district policies. For such trips, specific educational components must be included such as performing for a music festival, an adjudicated contest or a concert tour. Marching performances such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Rose Bowl Parade or other similar ceremonial appearances also qualify. However, educational components need not be limited to performances. Concert attendance, visiting university/conservatory music facilities and other music related, non-performing opportunities would also be appropriate if approved by the local school district.

• A recreational trip, on the other hand, would not meet the definition of an educational field trip as provided in Section 480(f) of the UIL Constitution and Contest Rules. Students receiving the benefits of a purely recreational trip would likely be in violation of the Awards Rule.

• Booster Clubs may also fund scholarships for private lessons and summer music camps provided the selection of the recipients is not based on success in interscholastic competition. Funds for such activities should be carefully monitored to ensure that they are expended for educational rather than recreational activities.

• The awarding of patches, T-shirts or other items for achievement in interscholastic competition would be subject to the UIL Awards Rule. See Section 480(2)(A), UIL Constitution and Contest Rules. In order to protect all music students’ eligibility, such awards should be approved and administrated by the local school district in accordance with school district policies.