Getting Notre Dame basketball player Arike Ogunbowale to appear on “Dancing With The Stars” was a tad complicated thanks to the NCAA’s rules regarding amateurism.
As you probably know, NCAA athletes are not allowed to make money off of their likeness. But Ogunbowale is allowed to keep the money she earns from DWTS thanks to a waiver from the NCAA. According to a statement from the governing body to the Washington Post, her appearance on the show is “unrelated to her basketball abilities” and she’s therefore eligible to participate.
If you’re wondering how that’s actually possible, we are too. Ogunbowale rocketed to fame this spring after hitting two last-second shots in the Women’s Final Four. Her second shot won Notre Dame the National Championship over Mississippi State after her first shot gave UConn its first lost of the season and put the Irish into the title game.
Simply put, she’s not on the show if she doesn’t hit those two shots. Who’d have thought the NCAA’s rules can be bent when it sees fit?
While Ogunbowale can make money from her appearance on the show, she can’t promote it. Via the Post:
The NCAA has placed restrictions on Ogunbowale that limit her involvement with the show and her potential to build her brand. She is not allowed to appear in promotional materials for the show, including commercials, according to the NCAA’s statement. She didn’t join other contestants during a group appearance on “Good Morning America” last week. Show handicappers have already wondered whether the NCAA’s limits will hurt her chances.
Can we all stop for a minute and marvel about the potential betting impact the NCAA is having on a celebrity dancing show? Who’d have thought DWTS would turn into a gambling show? Sports gambling is another thing the NCAA despises.
Ogunbowale is the first active collegiate athlete to appear on the show. We’re fascinated to see if her appearance is a one-off — DWTS is a four-week run this spring and features only athletes — or the start of a trend. In our view, having women’s basketball players competing on Dancing With The Stars regularly seems like a great way to help promote the sport.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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