In the latest episode of "Things About the NCAA That Leave You Scratching Your Head", WRAL is reporting that NC State had to get clearance from the NCAA to have "American Idol" finalist Scotty McCreery throw out the first pitch at the
Wolpfack's Wolfpack's baseball game against Florida State on Saturday.
McCreery is staging a big homecoming to his Wake County hometown of Garner, which includes a parade and a concert. The day is scheduled to conclude in Raleigh with McCreery taking part in the pre-game festivities at Doak Field before the Pack's game with the Seminoles.
There's only one problem - McCreery is a high school junior, and prior to his "Idol" fame, was a pitcher for Garner High School's baseball team. That makes him a prospective student-athlete, though his recent musical success probably precludes any thought of a baseball career.
The NCAA granted permission for McCreery to appear at the game and throw out the first pitch on the condition that NCSU promise not to recruit him to play baseball.
See, NCAA rules prohibit a school announcing the visit of a prospective student-athlete on campus (a void recruiting websites gladly fill, so big-time prospect visits are hardly secret - they're just not announced by the school). In addition, prospects are not allowed to receive anything of value on campus visits before their senior year, so the folks at State can't even give McCreery a t-shirt or hat as a souvenir, nor a hot dog and drink from the concession stand.
NCAA rules are often arbitrary and byzantine and inflict amazing amounts of collateral damage (see Tom Izzo's suspension and the Ole Miss football player who received an improper benefit for moving seats at a basketball game). But at least State will benefit from "Idol" mania - Saturday's game against the 'Noles is a sellout.