Baller Vol: How is This Not an NCAA Violation?

Posted by rtmsf on October 6th, 2008

Gary Parrish had an interesting story today about an incoming Tennessee recruit named Renaldo Woolridge, a 6’8 top 100 power forward from Southern California who has an impressive bloodline – his dad happens to be former Notre Dame All-American (1981) and longtime NBA journeyman, Orlando Woolridge.

(photo credit:  MySpace)

The story goes into considerable detail as to the younger Woolridge’s burgeoning rap career, replete with the obligatory MySpace page and stage-friendly moniker, The Answer aka Swiperboy.  And yeah, we agree with Parrish when he says that it’s obvious after listening to the tracks that this kid has a little more talent than your average hoopster/rapper wannabe.

What really piqued our interest, though, was when we listened to the song, “Baller Vol,” which quite clearly pays homage to Woolridge’s new school and teammates (listen below).  We may not have caught them all, but we heard players Scotty Hopson, Wayne Chism, Tyler Smith, JP Prince and coach Bruce Pearl mentioned.

Not to be a total wet blanket here, because this seems like just a kid having some fun – Woolridge even mentioned that UT may use his track for player introductions this year - but how is this not an NCAA violation?  Wouldn’t Wooldridge’s production company, Swiperboyz Entertainment, be considered a commercial enterprise?  And if so, aren’t there fairly explicit rules as to the limitations or usage of the university’s logo and likeness?  For example, look at Rule 12.5.1.3(c) from the NCAA Rules & Regulations:

But on Woolridge’s MySpace site, it’s obvious that he’s a Vol and even includes a conspicuous image of him flexing while wearing a UT jersey.

(ed. note – this picture has since been removed from Woolridge’s MySpace page.  Coincidence?  photo credit: MySpace)

And what about the shout-outs to all of his current teammates on the song?  Per Rule 12.5.2.2, did Woolridge get express permission to use their names on his product, and if not, does it matter that UT probably hasn’t taken steps to remediate that likely omission?

Given what we wrote last week about the NCAA’s worthless investigative arm, none of this probably matters because there are bigger fish for the brass to fry at Prairie View and UC Davis, but coming from someone who remembers how Indiana’s Steve Alford found himself in hot water for simply doing a charity calendar photo two decades ago, we have to wonder how all of Woolridge’s UT-centric rapping reconciles with the NCAA’s rulebook.

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