SYRACUSE — Photos “tweeted” by a local sports talk radio show could lead to disciplinary action against two members of the Syracuse University football team. It’s all because the players were holding up banners displaying the names and logos of various sponsors of the “Syracuse Legends” program which airs every Friday night on ESPN Radio 97.7 and 100.1 (WTLA/WSGO).
According to an article by Chris Carlson on syracuse.com, football players Jerome Smith and Ashton Broyld appear in the photos, holding banners with the logos for various sponsors including SportsCare Express, the U.S. Army, Napa Auto Parts and the Summit chain of automobile dealerships. NCAA regulations, aiming to promote amateurism in college sports, forbid student-athletes from providing commercial endorsements.
Host Mike Bristol told Carlson he is aware of the NCAA’s rules and never would have posted the photos — but he was out-of-town Friday, and didn’t learn about the photos until Monday. Although Bristol said he deleted the photos immediately after he learned of them, they’ve been preserved for perpetuity — Carlson’s article includes screenshots, taken just hours after the photos were posted.
According to the report, former SU running back Damien Rhodes was guest hosting on Friday, but Bristol blamed producer Pat Coggins for posting the photos. Carlson quoted Bristol as saying Coggins “doesn’t know what he is doing,” but added, “he’s a nice kid.”
Carlson interviewed a former compliance officer from Marshall University, who believes the photos could amount to a “secondary violation” in the NCAA’s eyes, resulting in a mild punishment such as community service or being suspended from one quarter of one game.