REQUESTS FOR AUTOGRAPHED ITEMS
VIRGINIA TECH ATHLETICS DEPARTMENT POLICY

The procedures contained in this policy were developed to give direction to staff members who receive requests for items to be autographed by student-athletes. The policy is designed to protect the eligibility of our student-athletes, and avoid inadvertent violations.

Each sport is empowered to make its own decisions regarding the autographing of items, provided the request is permissible per NCAA regulations, and all applicable Virginia Tech procedures are followed. No student-athlete should autograph any item without following these procedures.

Three key individuals in the athletics department will serve as "point persons" for autograph requests. Staff members are asked to direct requests to these individuals*:

    Diana Clark (autographs by Football coaches);
    Diane Santolla (autographs by Women's Basketball players);
    Sharon Spradlin (autographs by Men's Basketball players).

Requests for autographed items customarily come from either:
  1. GROUPS (usually for fundraisers), or
  2. INDIVIDUALS.

1) Requests by Groups (charities, organizations, etc.)
    Any group requesting an autographed item for a fundraiser must complete the Virginia Tech Donation Request Form . They must provide a letter of request, on the organization's letterhead, stating who the request is from and where the proceeds will go. The form is completed by a representative of the requesting group and returned to the point person. The point person then submits it to the Compliance Office for approval.

    Remember, per Virginia Tech policy, no items (footballs, basketballs, etc.) are to be given free of charge to any group. The item(s) to be autographed must be provided by the group.

    Broadly speaking, three types of groups are permitted to receive and utilize autographed items in fundraising events. They are:
    • Institutional entities (Virginia Tech groups such as SGA, Alumni Assoc., Dairy Club, etc.);
    • Charitable/non-profit groups;
    • Educational groups (elementary and middle schools, VEA, Council of Higher Education, etc.).

    A chart containing detailed guidelines for group fundraisers is attached. It lists the permissibility of providing autographs from student-athletes and coaches to nine distinct categories of "groups."

    Most importantly, it is not permissible for items autographed by student-athletes or coaches to be:
    1. Used by any school containing students in the 9th grade or above; or
    2. Used by any group to raise funds which will be used to provide college scholarships.
    Once the fundraiser is approved by the Compliance Office, the item may be autographed.

    When the group representative receives the autographed item back from the athletics department point person, he/she must be given a copy of the letter written by Jim Weaver, explaining applicable NCAA regulations. The representative is then responsible for giving the letter to the eventual recipient (e.g. high bidder, door-prize winner) of the autographed item.

2) Requests by Individuals
    Individuals seeking to get items autographed by student-athletes generally do so for their personal use/display. Occasionally, however, unscrupulous individuals attempt to gain autographs for the purpose of personal profit. Once the sport's point person has confirmed that the autographed item is for the individual's person use/display, the following procedures are to be followed.

    Each point person will be provided a VT Autograph Request Log. Whenever an individual's request for student-athlete autograph is granted by the sport, the point person will immediately enter three pieces of information into the Request Log:
    • The date of the request;
    • The name of the individual requesting the autograph; and
    • The item to be autographed.
    In autograph situations involving individuals, it is extremely important that the autograph must be personalized (e.g. "To Eric"). This greatly reduces the potential for abuse.

    Once the item is signed, the point person will enter a fourth piece of information into the Request Log: the name(s) of the student-athlete(s) who autographed the item.

    When the individual receives the autographed item, he/she must be given a copy of the Jim Weaver letter explaining applicable NCAA regulations.

    EXCEPTIONS:
    Two types of individual requests are not required to be recorded in any Request Log:

    1) Requests made to student-athletes in a game-related setting (e.g. pre-game, post-game, road hotel);

    Or

    2) Student-athlete autographs provided in an autograph session organized by the athletics department.

    In both cases, these autographs should always be personalized.