The Louisville Cardinals football team won’t do its annual autograph session during Sunday’s Fan Day because of a national controversy over the signing of memorabilia.
Instead, the Cardinals will hold a tw0-hour practice in full pads for fans to watch. Parking and admission to Fan Day is free.
In a statement, Cardinals football Coach Charlie Strong said:
“I would like to personally apologize to our outstanding fans. However, because of the national problem of autographed items appearing for sale on eBay and other websites, we have made a proactive decision to hold an open practice for the fans and forgo an autograph session. We have monitored the situation closely, and we decided to protect the eligibility of our players and operate under the principle that it not permissible to accept any type of compensation for their autograph or the sale of memorabilia. I know this will disappoint a lot of our fans, especially the young children who look up to our players, but I strongly feel this is the best decision for our football program.”
ESPN has reported that the NCAA is investigating whether Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel was paid to autograph merchandise for a memorabilia broker. That merchandise was being sold online. The payment would violate NCAA rules.
Items autographed by Cardinals star quarterback Teddy Bridgewater have also shown up on eBay, but UofL has said it’s “comfortable” that Bridgewater broke no NCAA rules.
On Fan Day, the first 5,000 fans can still pick up special edition posters at the gates, and a “blow-out tent sale” will have Cardinals merchandise marked down by 75 percent.
Also, kids can play on inflatables and have their faces painted.
The Cardinals’ season opens on Sept. 1 against Ohio at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.