Gopher wrestler grapples with scholarship vs. music conflict - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

Gopher wrestler grapples with scholarship vs. music conflict

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

One of the Golden Gophers' wrestlers is grappling with a tough dilemma -- he's a musician who has released songs on iTunes and social media, and continuing to do so could put his scholarship in jeopardy.

The University of Minnesota's compliance office told FOX 9 News all student athletes -- on scholarship or not -- can't use their name, picture or status as a college athlete to sell commercial products, including music. That news struck a sour cord with Joel Bauman.

"I have a calling," Bauman said. "I feel like I have a calling. I feel like I was put here to make the world a better place."

Through his music, Bauman strives to write lyrics that will impact the lives of young people by urging them to fulfill their dreams.

"It's about the message you can deliver through the music," he explained. "Music can touch so many people."

Yet, music isn't Bauman's only talent. He's also an accomplished wrestler on scholarship, and that's what led the U to send him a letter saying, "Unfortunately, it is not permissible for you to use your name and image to promote your music career while you are a student-athlete."

The letter went on to say that Bauman must remove his name from any songs, take down his videos and stop his online count -- but Bauman said he won't, even if that means leaving his scholarship on the mat and walking away from the sport.

"My calling is bigger than a scholarship," he said. "My message is bigger than me."

The director of compliance said he's sympathetic to Bauman's situation, but said unless those music channels are shut down, he will be ineligible to compete in meets going forward; however, the compliance also said Bauman could use an alias for his music as long as he removes his picture and refrains from referring to himself as a University of Minnesota wrestler.

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