According to the NCAA, Little League World Series sensation Mo’ne Davis’s possible eligibility will not be affected by her appearance in a Chevrolet commercial that aired during Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night.
The NCAA prohibits college athletes from profiting off their name, likeness or image, but a spokesperson for the organization said that Davis can be paid for appearing in the ad without affecting her eligibility.
Davis is 13 and in eighth grade. She burst to stardom in August during the Little League World Series, where she became the first girl in the history of the event to throw a shutout.
During the 60-second spot directed by filmmaker Spike Lee, Davis says, “I throw 70 miles per hour … that’s throwing like a girl.”
“To be honest, I never thought I’d be famous for baseball,” she told Sports Illustrated in August. “I want to play basketball, and I could also do both basketball and baseball — but I really want to play basketball.”
Last month, the NCAA ruled that a two-minute telephone call made by University of Connecticut women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma to Davis was a secondary recruiting violation. Auriemma said he consulted with the school’s compliance department before making the call.
According to NCAA bylaw 13.3.1, in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts and telephone calls can not be made with a prospective student-athlete or a prospective student-athlete’s relatives or legal guardians before June 15 immediately preceding the prospective student-athlete’s junior year in high school.
The NCAA released a statement within hours of Davis appearing in the commercial.
“Since January, NCAA Division I membership gave staff more flexibility to consider unique circumstances when determining eligibility,” according to the statement, published by USA Today. “The NCAA staff’s decision was made within this process and based on a combination of considerations. This waiver narrowly extends the rules — which allow Davis to accept the payment and still be eligible in any other sport — to include baseball. The NCAA staff also considered the historically limited opportunities for women to participate in professional baseball. In addition, Davis is much younger than when the vast majority of the prospect rules apply. While this situation is unusual, the flexible approach utilized in this decision is not.”
– Scooby Axson