Voluntary Athletically Related Activities
What does VARA stand for?
VARA is an acronym created by the NCAA that stands for Voluntary Athletically Related Activities. Voluntary Athletically Related Activities are ones in which the following conditions are met:
- The student-athlete must not be required to report back to a coach or other athletics department staff member (e.g., strength coach, trainer, manager) any information related to the activity. In addition, no athletics department staff member who observes the activity (e.g., trainer, manager) may report back to the student-athlete’s coach any information related to the activity;
- The activity must be initiated and requested solely by the student-athlete. Neither the institution nor any athletics department staff member may require the student-athlete to participate in the activity at any time. However, it is permissible for an athletics department staff member to provide information to student-athletes related to available opportunities for participating in voluntary activities (e.g., times when the strength and conditioning coach will be on duty in the weight room or on the track). In addition, for students who have initiated a request to engage in voluntary activities, the institution or an athletics department staff member may assign specific times for student-athletes to use institutional facilities for such purposes and inform the student-athletes of the time in advance;
- The student-athlete’s attendance and participation in the activity (or lack thereof) may not be recorded for the purposes of reporting such information to coaching staff members or other student-athletes; and
- The student-athlete may not be subjected to penalty if the student-athlete elects not to participate in the activity. In addition, neither the institution nor any athletics department staff member may provide recognition or incentives (e.g., awards) to a student-athlete based on attendance or performance in the activity.
VARA activities may occur during designated “off days” and during periods when CARA and RARA activities are prohibited.