ED NOTE: Let me be clear that this piece has nothing to do with politics other than the fact that Donald Trump is a candidate for President of the United States. It's simply addressing why the allegation that appearing on stage with him and "endorsing" him is not an NCAA violation. As always, no politics.
Last night, United States presidential candidate Donald Trump stopped by the University of Iowa's Field House in Iowa City for a rally prior to the Iowa Caucuses, scheduled on February 1st. Almost immediately after taking the stage Trump called members of the Iowa football team, including C.J. Beathard, to the stage. Per the Washington Post, Trump then gave the players, dressed in suits, a glowing review:
The football team, come on! University of Iowa. Look at the size of these guys! They're monsters. We've got the next Tom Brady, right over here... Look at the size of these guys! 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.
Hands were shaken.
Pictures were taken.
And Trump was presented with an unofficial University of Iowa jersey. Later, the wrestling team was brought up:
And here come the University of Iowa wrestlers.... pic.twitter.com/psrmezIyD3— Jenna Johnson (@wpjenna) January 27, 2016
It was probably exciting for the student-athletes, who play in front of thousands of people but rarely have the opportunity to take the stage with a presidential candidate. When you live in Iowa you're constantly surrounded by politics. Taking part of the process, whatever that may be, is just part of being Iowan.
Today, a blog by the name of The Daily Caller published a story titled: Trump's Use of Hawkeyes Football, Wrestling Teams Violates NCAA Rules. This was later published on Des Moines radio station KXNO's website and promoted on their Twitter. This was suddenly a "story."
A few things. First off, using "Trump's Use of Hawkeyes Football, Wrestling Teams Violates NCAA Rules" is total clickbait and misleading. The first sentence of the piece uses the word "might." Might. As in that, there is a probability or possibility that Iowa violated NCAA rules. The title states, as a matter of fact, that Iowa violated NCAA rules. This is not the same thing.
Second off, no. The article claims that Iowa violated the NCAA's Advertising and Promotional Guidelines because:
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."
Actually, this isn't true. The full guideline reads:
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.]
Where does it say anything about student athletes not being allowed to endorse politicians? What the author fails to understand is that these guidelines do not apply to student-athletes. They apply to companies or organizations who want to use NCAA student-athletes in their advertisements. Citing the Mitch McConnell situation proves the exact opposite of the author's point. McConnell created a campaign ad using footage of the Kentucky basketball team without consulting the University of Kentucky. This got McConnell into trouble with the NCAA. Not Kentucky. Not the students who appeared in them (even if involuntary).
If the author would've taken one minute to Google (no literally, one minute) he would've come across a nice blog called the Daily Compliance Item, ran by Jen Condaras, the Assistant Commissioner of Compliance for the Big East Conference. This exact issue was addressed by the NCAA years ago. Per Condaras:
NCAA Staff Interpretation- 12/30/87- Student-athlete endorsement of political candidate- states that enrolled student-athletes could be involved in the endorsement of a political candidate provided the student-athletes receive no remuneration for their involvement and are not obligated to make any time commitments; suggested that the following disclaimer be utilized in any press releases containing their names:
The student-athletes are acting as citizens of the state, and do not necessarily represent the views of their institutions of higher education or the NCAA."
Current employment legislation (Bylaw 12.4.1) would allow a student-athlete to earn income as any other employee in the candidate's office (e.g., stuffing envelopes, handing out fliers).
Here's an actual example of something like this happening and the NCAA not caring about it.
Gary Barta quickly addressed the subject:
Statement from Gary Barta after Trump event last night. pic.twitter.com/l7HDnc1tjV— Mark Carlson (@markwcarlson) January 27, 2016
So no, Iowa and its players didn't violate any rules. The rules and guidelines that they supposedly violated apply more to Donald Trump than the players themselves (if at all). The school didn't endorse him and it wasn't an athletically sanctioned event. To say that a school violated NCAA rules because their students partook in the political process is asinine and flat out wrong.
Sorry to disappoint all you clickbaiting bloggers out there who failed to come correct.