The NCAA is allowing Notre Dame F Arike Ogunbowale to "maintain her amateur status" as she appears on the upcoming season of ABC's "Dancing With The Stars" as long as she does not "participate in commercial promotions for the show," according to Mike Vorel of the SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE. NCAA Associate Dir of PR Emily James indicated that Ogunbowale "can receive prize money from the show." That is due to the money coming for her "dancing achievements, unrelated to her NCAA 'basketball abilities.'" Ogunbowale, who made the winning shot in the NCAA championship game, has said she will return to school for her senior season. The athletes-only version of "DWTS" debuts on April 30 (SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE, 4/14). Notre Dame Associate Athletics Communications Dir Josh Bates said that the school "cannot promote Ogunbowale's appearance on 'DWTS' outside of the 'factual statement' that she is on the show" (USATODAY.com, 4/13).
DOING THE RIGHT THING: USA TODAY's Nancy Armour wrote the NCAA is "showing some common sense," as the organization's rules dictate that Ogunbowale "shouldn't be able to participate." However, the NCAA "found a loophole and is giving Ogunbowale a hand to help her squeeze through it." Armour: "Is it hypocritical for the NCAA to subvert its own rules? Of course it is. Is it the right thing to do? Absolutely. ... Ogunbowale's participation on 'DWTS' is not going to bring about the downfall of college athletics, and it's refreshing to see the NCAA acknowledge that" (USATODAY.com, 4/13). ESPN's Mike Greenberg said, "This might be the beginning of a change in the way they look at things." Greenberg: "I don't think it is inconceivable that this is the beginning of what we will look back on and say is the new way the NCAA will go about things." ESPN's Jalen Rose: "I'm happy to see so many people come around from the thinking of, 'Just shut up and be happy that you have a scholarship' to now understanding that these young people have equity and they're bringing value to their colleges." But ESPN's Michelle Beadle said, "I don't understand how this is allowed, but a kid's mom can't go to lunch and have the bill picked up for $12 for a salad. Either be consistent, or if this is the beginning of the new NCAA, then announce that. But this is just a gray area that I don't get" ("Get Up!," ESPN, 4/16).