NCAA Allows Mo’ne Davis to Be Paid For Ad, Maintain Eligibility

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 3

October 26th, 2014 College

In a paradigm-shifting decision, the NCAA has announced that it will allow Little League World Series participant Mo’ne Davis to maintain her future amateurism while being paid to appear in a add for the car company Chevy.

In a statement released by NCAA spokeswoman Emily James, the NCAA ruled the “historically limited” opportunities for women to participate in professional baseball.

Mo’ne Davis may be paid for appearing in the Chevy commercial without impacting her NCAA eligibility…The NCAA staff’s decision was made within this process and based on a combination of considerations,” James said in the statement. “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.

Davis rose to stardom this summer as one of the powerhouse players in the 2014 Little League World Series, when she became the first girl in Little League World Series history to earn a win as a pitcher. After that game, the governor of Pennsylvania predicted that she would one day play professional baseball.

Davis has said that while she enjoys baseball, basketball is “her sport,” and that her lifelong dream is to play college basketball for the UConn Huskies.

The NCAA, while claiming its own flexibility on this matter, was not in at least one other instance flexible with Davis. After UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma called Davis to congratulate her on her success, the NCAA awarded him a secondary rules violation.

This decision seems inconsistent with other NCAA decisions, including former Olympic skier Jeremy Bloom, who was once declared ineligible to play NCAA football because of receiving money for skiing. The NCAA has since publicly changed those rules to only make athletes ineligible to compete in the same sport as one they’ve received money for, so the fact that she is still eligible to play college basketball is not unusual.

In this case, however, the NCAA has specifically declared that Davis is eligible for all sports, including baseball.

This could become paradigm-shifting for the NCAA, including in aquatic sports. There are historically, for example, historically limited opportunities for female water polo players to compete professionally.

There are a few examples of women who have played professional baseball independent leagues, including in recent years Ila Borders, Tiffany Brooks, and Julie Croteau and Carey Schueler, who was the first woman ever drafted by a major league baseball team. There is a United States National Team in baseball.

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How is not historic that Katie Ledecky and Missy Franklin both set WR’s and won Olympic Gold medals in high school and yet they can’t be paid? I hope this opens the door for swimmers. The two of them deserve it!

David Minoe

I am still trying to figure out if she loses her junior high and high school eligibility in Pennsylvania. I wrote to the PIAA and they said that all students 7th grade and over are held to eligibility rules. Their rules posted on their site says students can’t get paid. So if I was her, I would be worried about playing sports now.

K Zinn

The NCAA ends their ruling statement with “While this situation is unusual, the flexible approach utilized in this decision is not.” This is the biggest problem with the NCAA – no consistency or fairness; it seems everything is so subjective….

The young lady is great but Mo’ne should have done the commercial for a local Philadelphia charity or something.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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