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You can never be too safe when it comes to NCAA rules. Even when it involves wedding gifts.
When meeting with reporters in Minneapolis on Thursday ahead of his team’s Final Four game on Saturday, Virginia guard Kyle Guy divulged that he and his fiancee had to take their wedding registry down because it may have been violating NCAA rules.
“That was crazy to me that that’s illegal because that’s what a registry is for,” Guy said. “The NCAA said it was illegal so I’m not going to argue with it.”
You see, with Guy playing a key role in the Cavaliers’ march through the NCAA tournament, the website Busted Coverage ran a post on the registry, apparently encouraging fans to buy gifts for the couple’s future. That caught the attention of Virginia’s compliance department as a potential violation of the rules as they relate to “extra benefits” for student-athletes.
The post soon came down at the request of UVA’s compliance folks, and Guy’s registry was made private. He and his fiancee, Alexa Jenkins, must have received a top of the line silverware set or something.
As Jenkins wrote in a since-deleted tweet, making the registry private pretty much “defeats the purpose” of a wedding registry — which is, you know, to buy gifts for the couple. It’s tough to do that without an accessible registry.
“NCAA compliance said it was a violation so I had to make it to where only I can see it,” Jenkins’ tweet said.
But it wasn’t “NCAA” compliance. It was actually Virginia.
In a statement to Yahoo Sports, Virginia assistant athletic director for public relations Erich Bacher explained the school’s thought process. It was all an effort to make sure Guy did not have any eligibility issues.
“Once we were informed about Kyle and Alexa’s wedding registry being online and publicized by a media entity, our Compliance Office instructed Kyle to make the wedding registry private to help ensure there would be no issues with his eligibility,” Bacher told Yahoo Sports via email.
“Since that time the UVA Compliance Office has been in communication with the NCAA and while neither the NCAA nor UVA desire to interrupt typical gift giving practices, we will attempt to ensure that student-athletes are not receiving benefits that would violate NCAA rules. We appreciate the NCAA staff and its prompt assistance in handling this matter.”
The NCAA responds: ‘Inaccurate story’
As Guy’s comments quickly made their way around the internet, a reporter asked NCAA president Mark Emmert, who was on hand in Minneapolis, about the situation.
He disputed Guy’s version and said receiving wedding gifts is not against NCAA rules.
“What we know right now is that nobody in the NCAA said anything of the sort. We don't know what the source of that information was, whether it came from the institution or not. It's certainly not the case that that's a violation of NCAA rules,” Emmert said.
“We allow people to have all the usual and accustomed gifts among families and friends at all holidays and weddings of the sort. There's not a prohibition against that. We've been reaching back out already to the university to try to find out what transpired there. That's simply an inaccurate story.”
Later on, the NCAA followed up with a statement.
“As NCAA President Mark Emmert stated in the Men’s Final Four press conference today, this is ‘simply an inaccurate story.’ Typical wedding gifts from family and friends are not violations,” the statement said.
The key word there is “typical.” If a few overzealous fans were buying the couple gifts, would that fall under the NCAA’s purview of a “typical” gift from “family and friends?”
Virginia’s compliance department made the decision to use an abundance of caution to ensure there would be no problem’s with Guy’s eligibility. With the basketball team playing in just its third Final Four in program history, it would be a crushing blow if one of the team’s best players was ruled ineligible.
But the fact that anybody would even worry about wedding gifts possibly being against the rules reflects the absurdity of some NCAA rules to begin with. Better safe than sorry.
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