Maryland Won't Hand Out Game Balls Because Of NCAA RegulationsS

Linebacker Marcus Whitfield had a hell of an opener for the Terps, racking up five tackles and one-and-a-half sacks. He was awarded the game ball, but won't get to see it for a while—the school is putting it in storage to avoid running afoul of NCAA regulations.

"We can’t get the game ball until after we leave school because it’s against NCAA regulations. We have the game ball but it’s in the archives," Whitfield said. "That was crazy when I heard that when Coach Edsall first got here."

That's not strictly true. NCAA bylaws don't ban handing game balls, but they do count them as gifts with a monetary value. And the rules put a cap on the value of gifts a player can receive over the course of one year—for underclassmen, it's $225, for seniors like Whitfield $425.

So Maryland will hang on to the ball until Whitfield's college career is done, because it doesn't want to risk bumping up against that limit later on in the season. (The Under Armour Gripskin 695 retails for $80, so it's no insignificant chunk of the school's allowance.)

The NCAA can and will say that this is the school's decision, which doesn't change the fact that the bylaws are incomprehensible hieroglyphics and schools are conditioned to expect that EVERYTHING is a violation. That's why one school self-reported a violation earlier this year after a golfer washed her car with "university water," and why some football players aren't even allowed to have footballs.


[Baltimore Sun]