Hey, the NCAA is letting players keep game balls now

Friday September 13th, 2013

Maryland's Marcus Whitfield Maryland linebacker Marcus Whitfield (41) originally couldn't keep his game ball, per NCAA rules. (MCT/Getty Images)

In this week's edition of "What is the NCAA doing?" it seems the organization was shamed into changing another silly rule, this time involving game balls awarded to players. The Baltimore Sun ran a report on Sept. 3 saying Maryland linebacker Marcus Whitfield couldn't receive his game ball from the Terps' win against FIU until after he graduated. The Sun followed up with the NCAA to better understand the rule.

As it turns out, yup, the rule was a bit outdated. Wouldn't you know it, the NCAA was considering revisiting it.

From the Sun:

“Under current legislation, awards for specialized performances in a single contest may only be provided by the conference and an outside organization (e.g., local business) and must be a certificate, medal or plaque limited to $80 in value.”

The NCAA says its position is evolving.

It says in the memo that it believes “institutions should have discretion to decide whether to provide an award of nominal value such as a game ball (e.g., football, basketball, softball, baseball etc.) based on performance or achievement in a single contest for a limited time period, not just to recognize an extraordinary achievement.”

On Friday, it seems like the NCAA has evolved faster than a Pokemon  and the rule has been changed. Players can now receive a "memento of nominal value," which can be a hat, T-shirt, game ball, etc. No word yet on whether a player can receive a Blu-ray copy of Memento. As we've seen in the past, the NCAA is as slow as a glacier to update its rules unless it's caught in a bureaucratic trap and publicly shamed. At least kids can keep their game balls now.

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