Cases like Joel Bauman's make some wonder whether the NCAA is working against its stated goal of "protecting its student-athletes."
A redshirt sophomore wrestler at Minnesota, Bauman decided this week to forfeit his eligibility so he could pursue another one of his passions, music.
Bauman's music has gained quite a following, and it can be found on YouTube, TuneCore and iTunes. But on principle, Bauman won't use an alias when he sings or raps, which means he can't continue competing collegiately.
"We are certainly sympathetic of Joel," J.T. Bruett, Minnesota's director of compliance, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "But based on NCAA legislation in this area, student-athletes are not allowed to use their name, image or status as a collegiate student-athlete to promote the sale of a commercial product, including songs affiliated with a music career."
Bauman, who wrestled at 197 pounds, was a two-time state champion in high school and went 14-8 last year. He said it was important for him that people knew who he was, and if that meant he couldn't wrestle competitively, so be it.
"The dream is to inspire people," Bauman told the Star-Tribune. "I know through music that's all I'm trying to do. My message is way bigger than my eligibility."
Bauman's most popular song, "Ones in the Sky," has more than 20,000 views on YouTube.