Marcus Whifield can have his game ball after all.
Remember when we told you Tuesday about Maryland's rule preventing players from taking game balls that were awarded to them until after they depart campus for fear of the ball counting against the NCAA's gift cap?
When the NCAA was contacted by the Baltimore Sun earlier in the week, it said that the Maryland players could keep the game balls with no issue. Why? Well because the governing body dropped a provision earlier this season that had been in place since 1996 preventing game balls from being given out except in the cases of exceptional achievement like a record-breaking performance.
“NCAA member schools are streamlining and simplifying the rules to include only those that are enforceable, consequential and contribute to student-athlete success,” NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said in a statement. “As a result, the Division I Board of Directors instructed the staff in May to review interpretations with this in mind, which is currently in progress. To this end, student-athletes may receive a game ball whether for an extraordinary achievement or for being a player of the week, for example.”
The gift limit of $425 for seniors and $225 for underclassmen still exists; it's just that game balls don't count towards it. Given the recent change, it's unclear how Maryland didn't know it had happened.
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