NCAA: Student-Athletes Not Eligible for Endorsement; But Their Girlfriends Can


Josh Smith might be popularly known as college football player from Tennessee Vols but girlfriend Breana Dodd, seems to a more interesting topic to talk about. Dodd who is currently dating the wide receiver, is in business to endorse Hershey's Jolly Rancher candy.

Is it bad?

A recent lawsuit brought by Ed O'Bannon, UCLA basketball player, claims that NCAA rules have restricted student-athletes to earn revenue on their own names. In other words, NCAA is violating antitrust laws.

The Barstool Sports accounted Dodd as the hottest college football girlfriend of the season. It does not add her cash value but it definitely brings some of endorsement business on the line. The capitalized fame is seen in one of her Instagram post, endorsing Jolly Rancher candy for the campaign #FinalsSuck.

According to the Slate, Dodd is the perfect fit for 'organic brand messaging' due to her relationship with the student-athlete. The college football player girlfriend is considered as influencer. However, the Influential company who was behind the ad claimed that Dodd's relationship with the football player is not the factor. Instead, her Tennesee college and strong social followers are the brand passion points.

NCAA athletics rule mentions about an athlete being non eligible if the individual participate in advertisement or promote sales directly; including the commercial product use of any kind. With this in mind, Dodd who happens to be the college football player's girlfriend, can do the endorsement without violating the rule.

The rule, to be clear, does not allow student athlete to be paid for the image or likeness because it will forfeit their 'amateur status' that affect collegiate eligibility. Val Ackerman, Big East commissioner of NCAA said that it is considering athletes endorsement deal. Although Sports Illustrated thinks that there is no way NCAA will allow such business despite Ackerman's promise that the current case is under review and the public should see changes in the next two year.

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