UA reports violation over magazine photo spread

The University of Arkansas released a statement today regarding a self-reported secondary NCAA violation involving the improper use of men’s basketball student-athletes’ images in a local magazine article.

The images appeared in the December issue of “Celebrate Arkansas” that hit newsstands a few weeks ago. Arkansas players Courtney Fortson, Rotnei Clarke, transfer guard Jeff Peterson, as well as coach John Pelphrey were featured in a photo shoot wearing clothes from several local businesses. According to the statement released by the UA, it was the photo captions giving a nod to the local businesses who provided the clothing that resulted in the secondary NCAA rules violation, and subsequent report.

The self-report was based on tag lines used to accompany photos of student-athletes referencing local businesses that provided clothing specifically for the photos in the article. The request for interviews and photos was made through the Arkansas Media Relations department and was accommodated in a manner consistent with other such media requests.

Chris Bahn of reported yesterday that the photo shoot and accompanying article may have been a violation of NCAA rules, and the statement released by the University of Arkansas today confirmed that to be the case.

According to Bahn, “NCAA bylaw 12.5.2 outlines “impermissible” use of a student-athlete in advertising. Rule says that an athlete is not eligible for competition if he/she “accepts any remuneration or permits the use of his or her name or picture to advertise, recommend or promote directly the sale or use of a commercial product or service of any kind.”

The release states that the report does not allege any impermissible activity by any University of Arkansas coaches, student-athletes or staff members.

The captions in question

According to the statement, the captions advertising local businesses were added by the publication without the knowledge of the University officials who approved the interview and photo shoot, and the University did not approve “any non-editorial use” of the student-athletes’ images as part of the article.

UA officials say they received no compensation from the media outlet for the article or accompanying photo and do not expect the matter to effect the eligibility of the student athletes involved.

“As the routine process for reporting secondary violations has been completed, the University of Arkansas considers the matter closed,” reads the statement.

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