How does receiving prize money affect athletes’ eligibility?
Although prospective student-athletes are allowed to participate in professional tournaments while in high school, there are rules on how much prize money they can receive.
At D I universities, athletes can receive the amount of money that does not exceed their tournament expenses. For example, if an athlete spent $900 for travel, hotel, and meals while at a tournament, he or she can accept up to $900 in prize money. The exception to the rule for D I sports is tennis, where athletes can accept up to $10,000 per year in prize money regardless of the value of expenses. Once players accept more than $10,000 in a calendar year, they may not accept more than tournament expenses for any subsequent event.
For Division II there is no such rule, and prospective student-athletes who are still in high/secondary school can accept any amount of prize money.
The best practice for prospective student-athletes receiving prize money is to keep track of dates and names of the tournaments and the amount of money awarded, as well as saving documentation of the expenses (receipts, credit card statements) from the tournaments.