NCAA Reinstates UNC Receiver Dwight Jones After Suspension for Birthday Flier
North Carolina came dangerously close to being without its best receiver after Christmas when the Tarheels will take on Missouri in the Independence Bowl. Dwight Jones’ 23rd birthday is right around the corner, and for whatever reason that caused him to forget that he is a collegiate athlete. With his birthday falling on Jan. 1, Jones decided it would be a good idea to host a New Year’s Eve/birthday bash for himself at a club in Burlington. The party — mainly the flier promoting it — resulted in the NCAA suspending Jones for UNC’s bowl appearance. The thing was absolutely loaded with no-no’s, but the NCAA cut North Carolina a huge break on Thursday when they reinstated Jones. Here is the flier that landed the receiver in hot water:
Here is what the NCAA said at the time of the suspension, courtesy of the Charlotte Observer.
NCAA rules prohibit athletes from allowing their name or image to be used to promote an off-campus business or for-profit entity. Jones committed a secondary NCAA violation when he allowed his name and image to promote a birthday party in his honor on New Year’s Eve.
Did anyone really need clarification? I have no idea what Jones’ understanding of NCAA regulations are, but it baffles me that he thought this would be a good idea. The flier has money raining down on it and boasts about cash giveaways from Jones himself, who happens to be front and center wearing his UNC uniform. The party was also going to feature 24 free shots on the hour, “courtesy of D. Jones.” The first 24 ladies were going to be allowed in free of charge, “courtesy of D. Jones.” The flier wasn’t quite as bad as this one that Aqib Talib was sponsoring, but as far as carelessness is concerned it was right up there.
“I apologize to my teammates, the coaching staff, and the university for the poor decision I made to allow my likeness to be used in the promotion of a party given by a family member while still a part of the Carolina football team,” Jones said. “I should have asked the coaching staff or administration before allowing this to happen.”
Jones could have waited a month and done whatever he wanted without jeopardizing his team or the end of his college career, but apparently he couldn’t wait to celebrate the all-important 23rd birthday. Shockingly, his apology and the cancellation of the party were enough for the NCAA to reinstate him. Does that mean they really believe he made a mistake and didn’t know he was committing several violations on one sheet of paper? This was a bonehead mistake by Jones at the most boneheaded of times. The fact that the same institution that is punishing Mark Richt for being nice to his coaching staff would let Jones get away with something like that should come as a surprise to no one.
Chest bump to Dr. Saturday for sharing the story.