ndianaTiger and I have discussed this before and while TOPS isn't institutional aid it is administered through the school's financial aid office...so it is probably caught under that technicality.
It also isn't a very good deal for the player anyway if you think they're going to be a legitimate contributor.
220.127.116.11 Football or Basketball, Varsity Competition. In football or basketball, a student-athlete who was recruited (see Bylaw 15.02.8) by the awarding institution and who receives institutional financial aid (as set forth in Bylaw 15.02.4.1) granted without regard in any degree to athletics ability does not have to be counted until the student-athlete engages in varsity intercollegiate competition (as opposed to freshman, B-team, subvarsity, intramural or club competition) in those sports. For this provision to be applicable, there shall be on file in the office of the athletics director certification by the faculty athletics representative, the admissions officer and the chair of the financial aid committee that the student’s admission and financial aid were granted without regard in any degree to athletics ability. (Revised: 1/16/93 effective 8/1/93, 1/11/94, 6/20/04, 1/15/11 effective 8/1/11)
18.104.22.168.1 Exception—Receipt of Institutional Academic Aid Only. In football or basketball, a student-athlete who was recruited (see Bylaw 15.02.8) by the awarding institution and whose only source of institutional financial aid is academic aid based solely on the recipient’s academic record at the certifying institution, awarded independently of athletics interests and in amounts consistent with the pattern of all such awards made by the institution, may compete without counting in the institution’s financial aid team limits, provided he or she has completed at least one academic year of full-time enrollment at the certifying institution and has achieved a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.000 (on a 4.000 scale) at the certifying institution. (Adopted: 10/27/05 effective 8/1/06, Revised: 1/15/11 effective 8/1/11)
it just seems like it would fall under institutional aid, but it may not
define actively recruited?
For purposes of Bylaw 15, a
recruited student-athlete is a
student-athlete who, as a prospective student-athlete:
(a) Was provided an official
visit to the institution’s
(b) Had arranged, in-person,
off-campus encounter with
a member of the institution’s coaching staff
(including a coach’s arranged, in-person, offcampus encounter with
PSA or the parents/legal
(c) Was issued a National
Letter of Intent or a written offer of athletically
related financial aid by the
institution for a regular