The Louisville football program is banning its players from signing autographs, citing its "growing concerns over eligibility of its student-athletes."
There is no indication that any member of the football team violated NCAA rules, which prohibit student athletes from being paid for their autographs.
"We decided to take this measure as more of a proactive approach to protect the eligibility of our student-athletes," a Louisville spokesperson said to ESPN. "Furthermore, certain steps needed to be taken to insure that third parties were not benefiting commercially on the signatures of the student-athletes."
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
Louisville's football team has been in the spotlight this season because of the play of sophomore quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Lamar Jackson.
Jackson has passed for 1,625 yards with 14 touchdowns and also ran for 688 yards and another 14 scores, leading the Cardinals to a 4–1 record and a No. 7 ranking after Saturday's loss to Clemson.
The NCAA's ban on compensation for athletes—specifically bylaw 188.8.131.52—states than an athletes becomes ineligible if they accept "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; or receives remuneration for endorsing a commercial product or service through the individual’s use of such product or service."
In recent years, Georgia running back Todd Gurley and Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel have received punishment from the NCAA for violation of the rule. Gurley was suspended four games in 2014 and Manziel was suspended for one half of the team's season opener in 2013.
– Scooby Axson