Prospective Student-Athletes

An individual becomes a "prospective student-athlete" when he or she begins classes for the ninth-grade.

Before the ninth grade, you become a prospective student-athlete if a college gives you (or your relatives or friends) any financial aid or other benefits that the college does not provide to prospective students generally.

They remain a prospect until they enroll full-time at a four-year institution.

In the sport of men's basketball, an individual becomes a prospective student-athlete when he enrolls in classes for the seventh (7th) grade.

Recruited Prospective Student-Athlete

A prospective student-athlete becomes a "recruited prospective student-athlete" at a particular college if any coach or representative of the college's athletics interests (booster, alumnus or fan) approaches you (or any member of your family) about enrolling and participating in athletics at that college.

Activities by coaches or boosters that trigger recruited status are:

  • Providing a prospect with an official visit
  • Placing more than one telephone call to a prospect or any other member of their family
  • Visiting a prospect or any other member of the prospectÕs family anywhere other than the university's campus

Official Visit

An official visit is a visit to a college campus paid in whole or in part by the university. Official visits can be no longer than 48 hours. A prospective student-athlete is limited to 5 official visits and not more than one per university.

Unofficial Visit

An unofficial visit is any visit made to a university's campus at the prospect's expense. The university may provide free tickets to an on-campus athletics event in which the university's team competes. Transportation to view off-campus practice or competition sites within 30-mile radius is permissible. There is no limit on the number of unofficial visits a prospect can make.

National Letter of Intent

The National Letter of Intent (NLI) is an official document administered by the Collegiate Commissioners Association and used by universities to establish a prospect's commitment to attend a certain university. Once a prospect signs with a particular university, other institutions are prohibited from recruiting them any longer. Additionally, the day after a prospect signs with a university coaches may have unlimited contact with the signee as well as unlimited telephone calls and text messages.

Signees of a NLI remain prospective student-athletes until they enroll at the university.

» More on NLI

Recruiting Contact

Any face-to-face, off-campus encounter between a prospective student-athlete, prospect's parents (or legal guardian) or relative and a college staff employee or athletics representative; if the conversation goes beyond a greeting.

Recruiting Evaluation

Any off-campus activity designed to assess a prospect's academic qualifications or athletic ability. (e.g., reviewing transcripts on the high school campus or watching practices / games).


Student-athletes interested in transferring to Tennessee must obtain permission to contact from their current or previous institution's athletics compliance office or director of athletics prior to initiating communication (e.g., email or phone calls) with Tennessee coaches or athletic department staff members.

Institutions submitting permission to contact may either fax documentation to Tennessee at 865-974-3077 or email any of the compliance staff. Tennessee's coaches may contact student-athletes interested in transferring after permission to contact is received in our compliance office.

SEC Two-Year Eligibility Rule

Student-athletes enrolling at an SEC member institution with less than two (2) years of eligibility remaining are not eligible for practice, financial aid or competition.

SEC Two-Year College Transfers Rule

A non-qualifier, who initially enrolls at a two-year college and transfers to an SEC member institution, shall not be eligible for financial aid, practice or competition unless the following requirements have been met:

  • Graduated with an Associate of Arts Degree;
  • Completed satisfactorily a minimum of 48 semester or 72 quarter hours with a cumulative grade point average of 2.00 of transferable degree credit accepted toward any baccalaureate degree program at the certifying institution;
  • Attended the two-year college that granted the Associate of Arts degree as a full-time student for the last three semesters or four quarters (excluding summer terms);
  • Earned at least six credit hours of transferable, English with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 in these credit hours; and
  • Earned at least three credit hours of transferable math with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.00 in these credit hours.

International Prospective Student-Athletes

The University of Tennessee Athletics Departments actively recruits student-athletes from diverse backgrounds, including students from foreign countries.

Information for foreign students interested in applying to the University can be found here.

Once admitted, all international students are required to attend a special orientation program through the Center for International Education. Specific information about the orientation program and dates can be found here.

Additional Resources

For more information on each of the items below, click the corresponding link: