Comparing Jay Harris, Joel Bauman, and Myles Crosby

Jay Harris, a wide receiver from Pennsylvania who signed with Michigan State, is giving up his scholarship and football career in order to pursue his music talent:

Harris said his commitment to Michigan State last year was “halfhearted.” He said he first flirted with a career in music during his freshman year at Downingtown East.

“I’ve always had this in the back of my head, but never had the courage to tell my parents that this is what I want to do,” Harris said.

Coming so closely to wrestler Joel Bauman losing his eligibility over his music career, it is natural to draw comparisons between the two cases. But there are two critical differences.

First is that Harris appears willing to do something Bauman was not: perform under a stage name or alias. Bauman insisted on releasing his music under his own name, while Harris released his first video as Jay DatBull.

Second is the timing. The song which got Bauman in trouble was released during his collegiate career. Harris has started off his music career publicly before enrolling at Michigan State. That may qualify Harris to continue rapping and releasing music under NCAA Bylaw 12.5.1.3. This exception to the NCAA’s amateurism rules allows for athletes to continue modeling or other non-athletically related promotional activities, provided they started prior to enrolling in school (and meet some other exceptions).

So Harris’s decision is less like Bauman’s and more like the case of Myles Crosby, the male model-turned football player who signed with Southern Methodist. While Harris and Crosby might have been allowed to continue their music/modeling careers while playing college football, they each appear to have chosen to focus on one, and came up with different results.

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