Hey South Carolina fans: This Saturday night, you're invited to an "X-Mas Eve Explosion" in Rock Hill, S.C., with the Gamecocks' freshman star, Jadeveon Clowney, and senior cornerback C.C. Whitlock. There's just one caveat: The headliners may not actually be there. And they may not know they're the headliners.
For the third time in less than a week, college football players are the faces of a flier promoting a party that they may or may not be attending or even be aware of.
"It's like a family thing," party promoter Justin Ford told the SportsTalk Radio Network. "The person that set it up is cousins with C.C. They from the Rock Hill area. They might not even come. They said they might not be able to make it. Everything is legit, because they family."
Ford acknowledged that while it's not guaranteed that either player will attend the party that just having them on the poster gives some credibility to the event.
"It was just to make the whole situation look bigger than it is," Ford told the station. "They are not guaranteed to host. If they come they come, it not we okay. We said we just want to put ya'll on the flier. They might not even come through."
At no point does Ford say he received permission from the players to use their images on the posters, and he backtracks several times when talking about whether either player will even attend. That's a good thing for South Carolina, which should be in the clear with the NCAA if this turns out to be a case of Ford not actually having "permission" to use Clowney and Whitlock's likenesses.
Using a player's likeness for promotional purposes is a major violation and could result in ineligibility. North Carolina wide receiver Dwight Jones learned that the hard way Tuesday, when he was briefly ruled ineligible by the NCAA for the Tar Heels' Dec. 26 date in the Independence Bowl after appearing on a flier touting the "1st Annual Dwight Jones New Years Birthday Celebration." The party was subsequently canceled, and Jones' eligibility was restored this morning.
Last week, Clemson star Sammy Watkins was advertised as a host of a "Naughty or Nice X-Mas Party" in his hometown, Fort Myers, Fla., on Dec. 23, forcing the university to issue a cease-and-desist order to promoters to preserve Watkins' eligibility for the Orange Bowl.