A local pizza restaurant would like to recognize the Ocean State University (OSU) men’s swim team for winning their first ever national championship. The restaurant bought advertising space on a billboard near campus that reads “Congratulations Ocean State University Men’s Swim Team for Their First National Championship!”.
Is this permissible?
Yes with conditions. NCAA Bylaw 126.96.36.199 states that it is permissible for a student-athlete’s name or picture, or the group picture of an institution’s athletics squad, to appear in an advertisement of a particular business, commercial product or service, provided: (Revised: 5/21/08)
(a) The primary purpose of the advertisement is to publicize the sponsor’s congratulations to the student-athlete or team;
(b) The advertisement does not include a reproduction of the product with which the business is associated or any other item or description identifying the business or service other than its name or trademark;
(c) There is no indication in the makeup or wording of the advertisement that the squad members, individually or collectively, or the institution endorses the product or service of the advertiser;
(d) The student-athlete has not signed a consent or release granting permission to use the student-athlete’s name or picture in a manner inconsistent with the requirements of this section; and
(e) If the student-athlete has received a prize from a commercial sponsor in conjunction with participation in a promotional contest and the advertisement involves the announcement of receipt of the prize, the receipt of the prize is consistent with the provisions of Bylaw 188.8.131.52.3 and official interpretations. (Revised: 11/1/07 effective 8/1/08)