A Texas A&M cross country runner and business owner is seeking a waiver that would allow him to compete in spite of the NCAA's claims that he is not in compliance with rules that govern self-promotion.
Ryan Trahan is a 17-year-old cross county runner who also owns an ecologically friendly bottle company that he promotes on YouTube. According to a report from ESPN, Trahan is seeking a ruling that would allow him to compete while still promoting his company. The NCAA has asked that Trahan omit all references to Neptune Bottle or his association with Texas A&M on his YouTube channel, which has 14,000 subscribers.
Trahan sees the NCAA's directive as an ultimatum. "These are the two biggest things in my life," he states in a video on his channel. "They're asking me to throw one out the window, essentially."
Trahan questions why the NCAA would allow him to have a job at McDonalds but won't allow him to own his own company. In a post on its Twitter account, the NCAA said that "Student-athletes can own and run their own business without violating NCAA rules if it’s not based on their athletics reputation or ability."
The NCAA said it has not received a formal waiver request from Trahan and that it is working with Trahan to find a solution.
This isn't the first time the NCAA has forced an athlete to reassess their entrepreneurial goals. Donald De La Haye, a kicker for Central Florida, came in violation of NCAA rules because of advertising revenue he was earning on his YouTube channel, which has now garnered an audience of 218,000. De La Haye chose to forgo his kicking career in favor of his YouTube channel.