The rise of Lamar Jackson and Louisville to prominence has come at a price to its fans, especially the younger ones.
On Twitter Tuesday, Louisville announced that “[t]he football program no longer will be accepting autograph requests due to growing concerns over eligibility of its student-athletes.” NCAA Bylaw 188.8.131.52 states that a student-athlete risks his eligibility if he or she “[a]ccepts any remuneration for or permits the use of his or her name or picture to advertise, recommend or promote directly the sale or use of a commercial product or service of any kind.”
That bylaw caused the suspension of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel (½ game) in 2013 and Georgia running back Todd Gurley (three games) the following season, while Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller ran afoul of the same bylaw last year but missed no games because of it. Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green was suspended for the first four games of the 2010 season for selling a game-worn Independence Bowl jersey for $1,000 to a person the NCAA considered an agent.
A school official confirmed to CFT that, as of now, the athletic department has no reason to suspect that any football player has committed an NCAA violation when it comes to autographs. Instead, the department and the university was merely looking to get out ahead of a potential problem.
The football program no longer will be accepting autograph requests due to growing concerns over eligibility of its student-athletes.
— LouisvilleFootball (@UofLFootball) October 4, 2016
“We decided to take this measure as more of a proactive approach to protect the eligibility of our student-athletes,” the U of L explained to ESPN.com in a statement. “Furthermore, certain steps needed to be taken to insure that third parties were not benefitting commercially on the signatures of the student-athletes.”
Louisville is currently ranked seventh after the the then-third-ranked Cardinals lost to No. 5 Clemson. The Tigers have since taken over the No. 3 spot in the polls.