The latest head scratching NCAA rule was uncovered in a Baltimore Sun story about Maryland linebacker Marcus Whitfield’s stellar opening game performance against FIU. By the end of the game, Whitfield had finished with 5 tackles and 1 ½ sacks. And in response to that performance, head coach Randy Edsall rewarded Whitfield the defensive game ball the next day.
Whitfield was able to celebrate that fact that he’s received the defensive game ball, but he was unable to actually receive a physical game ball. Because apparently giving a player the game ball is considered an extra benefit by the NCAA.
“We can’t get the game ball until after we leave school because it’s against NCAA regulations. We have the game ball but it’s in the archives,” Whitfield said.
A team representative confirmed that Maryland keeps the footballs for the players rather than risk a violation of the NCAA’s extra benefit rules. Student-athletes are not allowed to receive gifts from their schools not available to other students.
“That was crazy when I heard that (about game balls) when Coach Edsall first got here,” said Whitfield, a fifth-year senior.
Per the usual, the NCAA is all over the (un)important issues.