Gridiron Details

Gridiron Bash, 17 concerts scheduled simultaneously in college stadiums across the country by New York City-based MSL Sports and Entertainment, has been canceled after a misunderstanding with the NCAA.

The concerts were to feature a host of top-name artists including Fergie, Maroon 5, Kelly Clarkson, Fall Out Boy, Counting Crows, ZZ Top, Goo Goo Dolls, Dwight Yoakam, Taylor Swift, Montgomery Gentry, Good Charlotte, O.A.R. and Black Crowes.

A rule interpretation by the NCAA last week would have limited participation by athletes in the shows, according to USA Today.

The NCAA’s Erik Christianson told the paper MSL wanted to "use student-athletes’ participation to promote" the events and allow athletes into the concerts for free, both of which are against NCAA rules.

MSL President Shawn Garrity countered that report, saying confusion over student athletes’ role in the events caused the problem and it wasn’t the NCAA that pulled the plug.

"Within the NCAA there are member institutions, universities, and we had 16 of them," Garrity told Pollstar. "We can’t call the NCAA as an outside party and say, ‘Can we or can’t we do this?’

"Though they’re aware of it and we had initial conversations with them a year-and-a-half ago, we can’t ask them to put together an interpretation of our event and tell us whether it’s right or wrong. They’ll only respond to what comes to them from a member institution or a conference that an institution is in.

"A school within one of the conferences down South stated improperly what the student athletes were doing in our event and based on that description, this conference gave their interpretation, saying it wasn’t OK."

Garrity said the school in question described the participation of the athletes as "being used to promote a third party concert," but he disagreed.

"They’re not promoting anything for us. They’re participating in an event where they’re being recognized. We’re not using them to promote the event like a musical artist for the VH1 awards saying, ‘You’ll see so-and-so there to perform live and these presenting artists.’

MSL then called the NCAA and asked for an interpretation about the events so the conferences would allow universities to participate.

"So it wasn’t originated by the NCAA. They didn’t say, ‘Stop or don’t go.’ But the problem is unless there’s a clear-cut clarification at that point, a member institution really can’t move with it, because it risks the eligibility of the athletes or the good standing of the university.

"The NCAA has been very responsive. They’ve been very supportive. They’ll tell you now, ‘We didn’t say there’s an issue with this. There are certain elements that require clarification, but they could have gone on with the event.’"

Garrity said MSL is currently working with the schools involved to see if they want to pick up a fall date or wait until next spring to reschedule the events. – Jim Otey