Donald Trump’s use of the Iowa Hawkeyes football and wrestling teams at his Tuesday rally did not violate NCAA rules.
“Acting on his or her own, a student-athlete may endorse a political candidate,” an NCAA spokesperson told The Daily Caller in response to the initial report.
During the Tuesday rally, Trump praised members of both the football and wrestling teams and said that they had endorsed him.
“What a team, what a team. And they were so nice,” Trump said of the Big Ten’s 2015 football runner-up. “They endorsed Trump. They like Trump, and I like them.”
The players also gave Trump an unofficial Hawkeyes jersey, with his name and number emblazoned on the back.
— Brent Griffiths (@BrentGriffiths) January 27, 2016
“University of Iowa student-athletes are encouraged to participate in the political process as individuals. However, like any endorsement by a student or faculty member, their participation should not be considered representative of the entire team or university,” University of Iowa athletic director Gary Barta told TheDC in a statement. “In recent months, candidates from both parties representing a spectrum of ideals have visited Iowa City. We will continue to support this approach without influencing particular political choice or agendas.”
“The jersey presented to Mr. Trump was not an official Iowa football jersey. No candidate has asked for, or received, any official Iowa athletic equipment or apparel,” Barta continued. “We are confident that no violations of NCAA rules and regulations have taken place.”