Will Arike Ogunbowale and 'Dancing with the Stars' Help Change the NCAA's Rules?
Will Arike Ogunbowale and 'Dancing with the Stars' Help Change the NCAA's Rules?
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
The cast for Dancing with the Stars: Athletes will feature Arike Ogunbowale, who scored a game-winning shot to claim the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament championship for Notre Dame. DWTS fans may think she's just like every other athlete on the season, but Arike's role may be much bigger.

Meet the Cast of DWTS: Athletes>>>

If you're not familiar with the byzantine rules of the NCAA, Arike shouldn't even be allowed to compete on the show. The rules state that no college athlete can profit financially from their reputation or fame they achieve from their athletic ability. It's clear that the only reason Arike is on DWTS is because of her back-to-back buzzer beaters to claim the championship. Also, she will get to keep any money she makes from appearing on the show.

Apparently the NCAA has allowed her to walk through a loophole, claiming that any money she makes from the show will be due to her dance skills, not her time as a college basketball player. Once you've finished laughing at the absurdity of that idea, you should also know that the rules still prohibit her from doing any promotion for DWTS.

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This all leads to a huge debate in the sports world about whether college athletes should be able to make money from their achievements (beyond a college scholarship) seeing as how the schools and NCAA make millions from TV rights and merchandising for college sports.

I'm not going to pretend to be even remotely knowledgeable on this issue (click HERE for USA Today's more in-depth analysis on the NCAA's rules and Arike), but Arike's appearance on DWTS seems to open the door to a change for the NCAA. By allowing her to compete, the NCAA is essentially admitting that she's more than just an amateur college student, she's a recognizable name who can attract an audience and deserves to be compensated for what she brings to the table.

Whether Arike wins the Mirror Ball or goes out on the first night, her presence on DWTS could mark a dramatic shift in NCAA rules and open the doors for other college athletes. Whatever happens, her appearance on the show is about more than just her.

Do you think the NCAA should change its rules to allow college athletes to profit from their achievements? Dancing with the Stars: Athletes premieres Monday, April 30 at 8/7c on ABC. For more updates, like BuddyTV's DWTS Facebook page.


(Image courtesy of ABC)