Lonzo Ball’s image has been taken down from his family’s apparel website after a report of concern from UCLA’s rival, USC, regarding the use of a student-athletes’ likeness for profit.
According to USA Today, Big Baller Brand, a company started by LaVar Ball prior to Lonzo’s arrival at UCLA, was asked to take down a photo of the Bruins star from its website. The call reportedly came from USC’s sports information director, though UCLA indicated that at the time of the report they were “aware” of the potential violation and “working on it.”
Good news for the Bruins: despite the mix-up and potential misstep in marketing, Ball won’t face any NCAA-related sanctions.
The NCAA and UCLA released a joint statement to USA Today, confirming that “appropriate measures” were taken when the issue was reported and Ball’s eligibility for the NCAA Tournament is not at risk.
“NCAA eligibility is assessed at the beginning of every student-athlete’s academic year and then re-evaluated as needed based on a change in circumstances,’’ the statement read. “This evaluation can include a review of NCAA rules, facts related to specific situations, or a school’s request for interpretations and waivers from the NCAA.
“Like many schools, UCLA has frequently worked with the NCAA to determine what is and is not allowed within the member-adopted rules. While neither the NCAA nor UCLA will address details of a specific student-athlete’s situation, both are comfortable the appropriate measures have been taken to review the potential issues under NCAA rules and processes regarding Lonzo Ball. As is standard practice, both will continue to work together to monitor this matter.’’
Big Baller Brand sells T-shirts, hoodies and hats on its website. The company describes itself as a “lifestyle apparel company” inspired by the three Ball brothers.
“Lonzo, LiAngelo, and LaMelo Ball are basketball players with Championship pedigree. We are always striving for excellence through strong work ethic, passion, and commitment to win as a team,” the company states on its site. “Our company goal and purpose is to deliver the same qualities into the brand.”