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March 31, 2008 - Promoter cancels spring football concerts

The Gridiron Bash, a series of concerts tied in to spring (i.e., exhibition) football games at some of the country’s largest universities, has been cancelled by its promoters after the NCAA pointed out that having athletes participate and giving them free tickets would be violations of its rules. The concerts had been scheduled to take place in April at Rutgers University, Pennsylvania State University, and the Universities of Alabama and Colorado, among others. Spring football games, long a low-key scrimmage opportunity for coaches and dedicated fans, have become major events in recent years. Alabama reportedly drew over 90,000 fans to its 2007 game, for example.
A columnist for the Birmingham News had this reaction:
“It’s OK for current student-athletes to appear in commercials to promote Pontiac, which is really what the popular campaign known as the ‘Pontiac Game-Changing Moment’ is ultimately designed to do.
“It’s all right for video of current student-athletes to be used to promote CBS’ programming and the products that advertise on CBS, which is part of why a television network pays $6 billion to televise the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
“It’s even acceptable for entire college football teams to become attractions to promote entire cities and be part of advertising campaigns that promote entertainment districts, restaurants and theme parks while on postseason bowl trips.
“But when it comes to having current ‘student-athletes’ take part in a pep rally on the eve of a spring football game before a concert as part of an event that promotes college football and guarantees hundreds of thousands of dollars to general scholarship funds, well, the sanctimonious NCAA says that violates its precious spirit of amateurism.”