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College Sports, Division I, Education

NCAA Secondary Case: Player Trading Cards

The Michael L. Buckner Law Firm continues its educational series on NCAA legislation through a review of selected cases involving secondary rules-violations. Today’s post reviews a secondary case involving a violation of the following NCAA legislation:

NCAA Bylaw Trading Cards.

A member institution or recognized entity thereof (e.g., fraternity, sorority or student government organization), a member conference or a noninstitutional charitable, educational or nonprofit agency may distribute but may not sell player/trading cards that bear a student-athlete’s name or picture

The bylaw was cited in Secondary Case Number 47114 (decided on April 18, 2011 [Division: I Involved Sport: Non-Administrative]), which is summarized below:

Facts: In January 2011, the sports information staff made individual head shots of student-athletes available for sale on the institution’s online photo store.  Specifically, after reading an official NCAA interpretation stating the prohibition of making individual head shots of student-athletes available for sale in online photo galleries, the assistant athletics director for compliance discovered that individual head shot photos were posted in an institutional online photo gallery and were available for sale.  The sports information staff was operating under a previous understanding that head shots of student-athletes were permissible to be sold along with action shots of student-athletes.

Additional Facts: None.

Institution Action: Head shots were removed from online photo store. Rules education.

Enforcement Action: No further action.

Eligibility Action: STAFF: None.

Rationale: STAFF: None.

The Michael L. Buckner Law Firm recommends institutions: (a) review the secondary report summarized above; and (b) enhance any relevant aspects of the institution’s rules-compliance program to address the issues contained in the report.


About Justin P. Sievert, Esquire

Bar Admissions (North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee) Practice Area (College Sports Law)


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