- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 5, 2016

An individual player benefiting from autographs violates NCAA bylaw 12.5.2.1, which states that players cannot use their names for commercial purposes, and a signature falls within the broad area of commercial purposes. A violation of the bylaw states that the player “shall not be eligible for participation in intercollegiate athletics.”

That’s why the University of Louisville is taking a cautious approach with their prized quarterback Lamar Jackson, a Heisman trophy hopeful who has taken the NCAA by storm with 1,625 passing yards, 688 rushing yards and 28 total touchdowns. Louisville announced that they will no longer fulfill any sort of autograph requests for their football team.

“We decided to take this measure as more of a proactive approach to protect the eligibility of our student-athletes,” a Louisville spokesperson said, ESPN reported. “Furthermore, certain steps needed to be taken to insure that third parties were not benefitting commercially on the signatures of the student-athletes.”

Louisville’s jump into football supremacy in the 2016 season has likely resulted into an uptick in requests. At the start of the season, Louisville was ranked No. 19 in the AP poll. But, by Week 4, following a blowout 63-20 win over No. 2 Florida State, Louisville rose to No. 3 in the country.

Payment-for-autographs issues have plagued the NCAA in recent years.

Texas A&M’s former star quarterback Johnny Manziel was accused of accepting cash for his signature in 2013. Manziel was suspended for the first half of a game, but the NCAA ultimately concluded that there was no wrongdoing on Manziel’s end.

But the very next season, former Georgia running back Todd Gurley was suspended by the NCAA for four games for accepting more than $3,000 in bribes for his autographs.

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