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Jeff Goodman, ESPN Insider 105d

LaVar Ball on son's NCAA eligibility: 'If he can't play, then he can't play'

Men's College Basketball, UCLA Bruins

The youngest Ball brother, 16-year-old high school junior LaMelo Ball, now has his own signature shoe and his father, LaVar Ball, told ESPN that he isn't concerned whether it will affect his son's college eligibility.

"We'll worry about it when we get there," Ball told ESPN. "Who cares? If he can't play, then he can't play. It doesn't mean he'll stop working out and getting better."

The NCAA was asked by ESPN about the matter Thursday and said, "Generally speaking, a college athlete or prospect paid for use of their athletics reputation or ability risks their future eligibility in that sport."

"This includes profiting from the sale of items bearing the young person's name," NCAA spokesperson Emily James told ESPN's Darren Rovell. "NCAA rules, however, do allow prospects to promote commercial products prior to enrollment, provided it is not for pay."

UCLA also issued a statement to ESPN that could not comment specifically about LaMelo Ball, citing NCAA rules.

"UCLA cannot comment on any prospective student-athlete until he or she has signed a letter of intent or scholarship agreement," the statement read." Any prospective student-athlete's amateur status needs to be certified prior to his or her participating in team activity. As such, NCAA eligibility is assessed at the start of every student-athlete's academic year and is re-evaluated, as needed. Once cleared by the NCAA, institutions can allow that student-athlete to participate."

LaMelo Ball's shoe -- the MB1 -- was available Thursday for pre-order through Big Baller Brand's website for $395. His oldest brother, Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, introduced his signature shoe this summer for $495.

LaMelo Ball, who attends Chino Hills (California) High, has verbally committed to attend UCLA in two years. He is ranked as the No. 7 player in the Class of 2019.

He is not under the NCAA's purview until he signs a letter of intent.

"Maybe in two years, they'll change the rule and he'll be able to go to the NBA straight out of high school," LaVar Ball said.

LiAngelo (Gelo) Ball, the middle brother, is a freshman for the Bruins. He cannot endorse Big Baller Brand without his eligibility being compromised.

"Gelo will be next, but right now he's handcuffed by UCLA," LaVar Ball said. "He'd be ineligible if we put out a shoe with him."

Ball has said that none of his sons would play more than one season of college basketball.

"He won't be ineligible in April," he said of LiAngelo. "That's when he'll have his own shoe."

Ball and his family also debuted the reality show, "Ball in the Family," on Facebook on Thursday. He said it'll be a 10-episode weekly series.

"We had an offer from NBC, but we turned it down," Ball said. "Who's watching TV these days? Facebook was the smart move for us because that's the future."

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