Ohio State Football Player Promotes AdvoCare, Unknowingly Jeopardizing Scholarship Status

Braxton Miller, quarterback for the Ohio State football team, loves AdvoCare. Unfortunately, however, promoting it goes against the terms of his scholarship status with the University.

Last month, Mr. Miller posted a photo on Instagram that got compliance officers roiled. The photo showed Braxton Miller and friend sitting with some AdvoCare products. He’s since deleted the photo from his account but if there’s a violation, he can’t really deny it ever happened.

NCAA: You Can’t Cash in On Your Name

According to NCAA rules, scholarship athletes aren’t supposed to use their name to promote things, if their name is worth anything as a result of sports. Braxton Miller’s name is worth something because he’s the quarterback for the Buckeyes at OSU. He’s allowed to have a job, but he can’t leverage his sports celebrity to make money.

One AdvoCare review states that on the AdvoCare website, where they list their distributors, Mr. Miller’s name had been listed but it’s since been removed. Nevertheless, he may still face NCAA violations according to the Buckeye Dispatch.

Why Miller Promotes AdvoCare

If you don’t already know, AdvoCare produces powdered sports drinks among other products. Braxton Miller was pictured on Instagram with another AdvoCare distributor and a line from their “Spark” drink, which is a sports performance drink.

Distributors (like Miller is or was) get paid for sales and for bringing in new distributors, as a form of network marketing. Someone with celebrity appeal like Braxton Miller would be theoretically very good at network marketing.

AdvoCare and Sports are a Natural Fit

AdvoCare sponsors the Texas Bowl in Houston, which is what they call the big game between Texas and Arkansas each year. There’s another big match on Labor Day in Houston, which was sponsored in 2013 by AdvoCare.

Why all the Texas game sponsorship from AdvoCare? Like My Advertising Pays, they’re a Texas company. Based in Plano, Texas, Advocare employs around 250 people and is headed by Richard H. Wright, President and CEO. More than 20 years in business, Advocare showed revenues of around $400 million in 2013. There are roughly 60,000 independent distributors and their products cover the areas of weight loss, nutrition, and sports.

Founder Charles Ragus was a football player himself, which may explain AdvoCare’s close connection and support of the game. He played defensive end for the Kansas City Chiefs back in the 1960s.

Braxton Miller: “It’s all good”

When questioned about the AdvoCare photo and possible NCAA violations, Mr. Miller stated that he’s spoken with Ohio State University compliance officers and that it was “all good”.

However, when reporters asked the OSU athletic department the same questions about the incident, they were less optimistic, or at least less revealing. They have not issued a statement so the good news hasn’t really been confirmed.

Fans are generally supportive of the student athlete, whom they feel was just trying to earn an honest living. Still, others warn he probably should have asked NCAA or OSU officials if it was OK to become an AdvoCare distributor.