Iowa AD Gary Barta said in a statement that he was “confident” that some of the university’s football players participating in a rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump did not result in any NCAA rules being broken despite a report from The Des Moines Register that suggests the contrary.
“University of Iowa student-athletes are encouraged to participate in the political process as individuals,” Barta said. “However, like any endorsement by a student or faculty member, their participation should not be considered representative of the entire team or university. In recent months, candidates from both parties representing a spectrum of ideals have visited Iowa City. We will continue to support this approach without influencing particular political choice or agendas.”
“We are confident that no violations of NCAA rules and regulations have taken place.”
The report from The Des Moines Register stated that Trump had a meeting with members of the football and wrestling teams before the rally at UI Fieldhouse. Given how NCAA rules state that athletes basically can’t “endorse” political candidates and appear in ads for them nor “advocate a viewpoint on controversial issues of public importance,” one can see where the NCAA may give a second look in this instance.
And even though the NCAA’s Compliance Office has deferred to the university’s statement, this instance will still generate its fair share of conversation, especially with the Iowa caucuses just a few days away.
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