Kudos to the Collegiate Times for scooping everyone on the story about Virginia Tech players' likenesses being used to promote parties in the 757. As a former campus rag reporter, I like it when the students dig up something the big boys don't.
Now that that's out of the way, onto the story itself.
What we know
According to the article, QB Tyrod Taylor, DB Kam Chancellor, TE Greg Boone and other former Hokies had their pictures on posters promoting parties (sorry again) in the Virginia Beach/Hampton Roads area.
One of the fliers said Taylor and Chancellor were "hosting" the party. The CT also reports that Taylor had the same posters set as his Facebook photo. The reporter, Brian Wright, also contact the promotion companies, which said neither Taylor nor Chancellor were paid to promote the parties. The athletics department also denies the players were compensated.
It's a violation of NCAA rules for a player to permit his name or likeness to promote a for-profit endeavor and promoting a non-profit endeavor requires A LOT of hoop-jumping.
What we don't know
Tech's director of compliance, Tim Parker, spoke with both the CT and Kyle Tucker about the possible violations. He said the players did not know or allow the promoters to use their likeness, however, I'm a little skeptical of this if the report that Taylor had it set as his Facebook photo is true. If that happened, he obviously he knew his image was being used and did nothing about it, including report it to the athletics department.
OMG! Worst Case Scenario! Panic, panic, panic!
It it turns out the players knew their images were being used, then there will be some backlash. The worst case scenario would be the three players being suspended for games, which would certainly include the Alabama game.
It's happened before. The CT mentions a couple of them, including one involving Miami. Steve Alford of Indiana's basketball team was suspended in the 80s for lending his likeness to a charity calendar. So, suspensions are possible if there were real shenanigans going on.
And of course, if it turns out the players were paid were screwed and Tyrod, Kam and Boone never see the field again.
What will likely happen
Cue Tim Parker per Kyle Tucker's blog:
“When Mike Vick was here, we ran into this all the time. Every ACC, SEC school, we all face this. It’s so easy now to pull photos off the Internet. You just toss it up on the flier. It’s really easy to use anyone else’s image without them knowing about it. Hopefully after tomorrow, we can go ahead and put the whole thing to bed. As a department, right now, we feel very confident that there’s no issue. Just another normal, minor headache. It’s actually amazing to me that we don’t have to do this more, honestly.”
I seriously doubt this investigation goes beyond the NCAA coming to Blacksburg and interviewing the players. If I had to put odds on it, I'd say there's a 7-10 percent chance there were any violations and a slightly smaller chance suspensions happen.
What we've learned
Tyrod, Kam and Boone are college kids. However, since they're NCAA athletes they need to be smarter than the average college kid.
Yeah, it's cool your image is being used to promote parties in your hometown. But you're under more of a microscope than your peers. Don't post that stuff on Facebook. Go to Parker so he can put the kibosh on it and we don't have stories like this.
This is for those of you who are bashing the reporter Brian Wright and the CT for running the story. Back the fuck off. The kid did his job. He's no less of a journalist that KT or anyone else that covers the team and the CT is no less of a paper than the Roanoke Times.
Wright wrote a straight-forward article that reported the facts and did what every good journalist does: Involved all parties. He contacted the school and got their side of the story. He obviously wasn't allowed to talk to the players. He contacted the promoters and got their side. He didn't drag anyone's name through the dirt. He reported what happened.
People are going to be unhappy with him for reporting what will eventually become a non-story. But this isn't like Spygate where he's quoting an anonymous source and accusing the players of doing something illegal. He reported what he found and what would happen if it turned out to be a violation of NCAA rules.
The only reason his name is being dragged through the dirt by the fans is because he's a student. If Kyle Tucker had written this story there would be no complaints from the proletariat. But since it's a student at a college paper, he's automatically looked down upon as not being a journalist.
The story in the CT this morning was professional. And it's a helluva a lot more professional that a lot of the stuff I read in non-campus rags. The only shame is by the time Wright's ready to join the ranks of the self-loathing sports writer there won't be any newspapers left.