You may remember that last spring a Chapel Hill, uh, entertainment
establishment promoted a draft party for UNC's Raymond Felton. Nothing
wrong with that except that
they listed David Noel as a special guest,
which struck us then (and now) as something against NCAA rules since he was
being used (and apparently willingly) to promote a commercial enterprise (we earlier said they used his photo but were mistaken. However, his name was used promote a commercial event and that is not allowed).
Now we have a somewhat similar situation with freshman Tyler Hansbrough, who
has "officially approved" a Web site called www.tyler50.com.
His approval is made clear by a Q&A section where he entertains questions
Are athletes entitled to their own Web sites? Certainly. Indeed,
we'd argue that any prominent athlete who might have a professional future
should have one and should try hard to get his own name registered as a domain.
It's only prudent.
However, in this case, the Web site is registered not to Hansbrough, but to
Domain Name: TYLER50.COM
owner: Richard Browne
organization: Wilson Browne, Inc.
address: 99 Mint Lane
city: Poplar Bluff
Is this legal by NCAA standards? Well, it could be in a few ways.
First of all, there could be a pre-existing relationship which in some ways the
NCAA finds acceptable. Secondly, Hansbrough could be paying all the bills
himself, even though the site is not registered in his name.
On the other hand, though, it's equally possible that the NCAA would see this
as an extra benefit not given to the average student. It's a nicely done
site - someone put some time and effort into the graphics and the flash work is
But if you priced it commercially, it would cost a fair amount.
So is this an extra benefit? It might very well be - and there are some
ramifications if it is.
We were surprised that using David Noel as a commercial endorser wasn't
looked at by anyone else, at least not that we were aware of. So we're not
holding our breath waiting for anyone else to ask the same questions. But
at least they've been asked.