Political ad leads to UK statement on Randle

Kentucky star Julius Randle was unwittingly at the center of a mini-political controversy Tuesday after his image was used in a campaign ad for Bluegrass State Senator Mitch McConnell.

Kentucky star Julius Randle was unwittingly at the center of a mini-political controversy Tuesday after his image was used in a campaign ad for Bluegrass State Senator Mitch McConnell.

McConnell, a Republican senator since 1985 and the Senate Minority Leader since 2007, released a new ad that originally featured video of Duke basketball players celebrating their 2010 national championship, apparently a gaffe that was intended to show former UK players celebrating the title in 2012.

After a predictable uproar around his basketball-crazed, McConnell pulled the Duke video footage, and replaced it with a new version of the ad that featured a still image of Randle.

Since Randle is still an active NCAA player, it led to questions about his involvement and NCAA eligibility. That led to UK releasing an official statement on Tuesday night.

"The University of Kentucky consulted with the NCAA earlier today regarding footage of Julius Randle in a Mitch McConnell advertisement," the statement read. "Although the use of the student-athlete's image in the advertisement is not permissible, because it was done without the knowledge or permission of the university or the student-athlete, it is not an NCAA violation.

"The University of Kentucky has sent a cease and desist letter and will continue to take appropriate measures to ensure improper usage of a student-athlete's name, image or likeness is prevented."

Randle, a freshman forward from Dallas, leads Kentucky in scoring (15.1) and rebounding (10.6) as the Wildcats prepare to face in-state rival Louisville in the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 on Friday night at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

The original ad:

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