Dumb Trump May Have Drawn University Of Iowa Into NCAA Violation
Hey here's a good idea: invite college basketball and wresting athletes onto the stage to endorse your presidential run. This may run afoul of NCAA rules, but what the hell? Politics! It happened in Iowa City tonight, as Donald Trump was playing host to a rally ahead of the Iowa caucuses.
A bunch of University of Iowa basketball players and wrestlers were in the crowd, on campus, to greet him -- because athletes are often meatheads. The Donald asked them onto the stage, where the players presented him with a personally-tailored 'Trump No. 1' jersey, and posed for pictures. That was followed by a 35-minute speech that "was repeatedly interrupted by protesters", according to the Daily Mail.
Good for you, UI non-athletes.
Here's Trump bringing the athletes onto the stage:
“Where's my football team? Get over here, football team,” Trump said when he called the football team to the stage. “The football team, come on! University of Iowa. ... Come on up here. Come on up, right? Get up! What a team, what a team. And they were so nice: They endorsed Trump. They like Trump, and I like them. I love you guys. Look at the size, how big and strong. That's what we like. Thank you, fellas.”
But the Trump campaign may have bigger problems, aside from their candidate always referring to himself in the third person. Technically, his use of student athletes as props may have been in violation of NCAA rules.
According to the NCAA’s Advertising and Promotional Guidelines:
Individuals, organizations or associations organized as a recognized not for profit, unless (1) the ad or association endorses a political candidate or party, or (2) the ad or association advocates a viewpoint on controversial issues of public importance. [Sub items (1) and (2) do not apply to television and radio advertising inasmuch as Federal rules/laws and networks' broadcast practices and standards take precedence in regard to political ads and controversial topics, respectively.], student athletes are not allowed to appear in any advertisement that “endorses a political candidate or party, or … advocates a viewpoint on controversial issues of public importance.”
But Iowa administrators denied that the athletes had broken NCAA rules, according to The Daily Caller. Iowa athletic director Gary Barta issued a statement today:
I was made aware that a number of current and former UI students from various sports attended the rally last night. University of Iowa student-athletes are encouraged to participate in the political process as individuals. However, like any endorsement by a student or faculty member, their participation should not be considered representative of the entire team or university. In recent months, candidates from both parties representing a spectrum of ideals have visited Iowa City. We will continue to support this approach without influencing particular political choice or agendas. The jersey presented to Mr. Trump was not an official Iowa football jersey. No candidate has asked for, or received, any official Iowa athletic equipment or apparel. We are confident that no violations of NCAA rules and regulations have taken place.
But as the NCAA Guidelines show, this is a real gray area. The rally occurred in the university's Field House on campus, the athletes took the stage as a team and they gave Trump a freaking Iowa jersey. The fact that it wasn't officially licensed team apparel is a rather flimsy defense.
But working in Iowa's favor is the fact that no one got paid for being there -- so it wasn't a paid endorsement. That will likely mean that the NCAA will look the other way, as IMO it should.
But why put student-athletes in this position to begin with? Trump is worth millions and is looking for any prop he can to win the Iowa Caucuses. But for most of these athletes, their scholarships are all they have. Why put those in jeopardy, even a little bit? Both the Trump campaign and the university screwed up big-time here.
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