Hey, look at the neat straw man Jim Delany built!

The man whose rapier-like wit has been directed at the likes of Karl Benson turns on the charm with the O’Bannon plaintiffs.

When asked his response to high-profile athletes such as Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel producing more jersey sales and revenue for their schools because of their play, Delany cited A&M’s storied history (founded in 1876).

“If Johnny Manziel was playing arena football tomorrow, what is his uniform worth?” Delany said.

Gee, Jimbo, I don’t know.  Maybe we should ask Kevin Ware about that.  Or any other athlete in any other sporting venue who’s allowed to make a buck off his or her name.  Or maybe we could ask some of these good folks.  I’m sure somebody could come up with a number for you, not that you’re willing to pay a penny of it.

By the way, the NCAA just announced it turned a nifty $71 million dollar profit – “surplus”, as the organization prefers to call it – last year, in large part based on the nearly $709 million it earned from television and marketing rights fees.  Sounds like they’ll need it to pay for all that lawyering coming up, per Delany.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany is preparing for a fight in the Ed O’Bannon antitrust lawsuit that could alter the college athletics amateurism model.

Delany told reporters on Wednesday that he’s not expecting a settlement in the case, which began in 2009 over the NCAA’s profits from the likeness of former athletes. Delany believes the case — which could cut into the conference’s multibillion-dollar television revenue streams — will likely “go all the way.”

“There should be no compromise on it,” Delany said.

Suck it, Manziel.

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39 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

39 responses to “Hey, look at the neat straw man Jim Delany built!

  1. Mayor of Dawgtown

    Unless the fix is in (and I wouldn’t completely dismiss that possibility) the NCAA is headed for a disaster of Biblical proportions. An O’Bannon case loss together with all the other things going wrong right now for the NCAA could very well spell the end for that corrupt, insipid organization. I will be cheering if that happens.

    • Cojones

      And along with it goes the amateur classification of CFB. What about those problems?

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Really. Most “amateur” athletes (AAU, Olympcs, etc.) get substantial financial stipends. Why do college players have to be the only ones to live in poverty, not even getting enough money to pay for dates, clothes or even spending money? This problem was created by the NCAA’s greed and that will be what takes the organization down.

  2. James

    That last part is the best news I’ve heard all day.

  3. HahiraDawg

    Here, here Mayor!
    I actually concur of sorts but believe the end will come before the judgment O’Bannon is actually rendered. The “writing on the wall” is becoming so apparent. From without – do the big guys need the corruption, arbitrariness and meddling of this big brother? From within – there will simply be no recovery from O’Bannon – settling is not an option, only dragging this on as long as possible until a viable alternative is conceived and implemented.

    I know so many here but ME and MSlive in the same boat but the correlation won’t work. ME is far more vulnerable on the sinking ship he’s in while MS has lead (‘under his watch’ – I use the term ‘lead’ loosely) his conference to never seen before success on field and in the accounts.

    • HahiraDawg

      sorry, quick typing…”‘of’ O’Bannon”, “put” not “but”, “‘the’ field”

      • AlphaDawg

        Other than a shitty TV deal which lead to league expansion, and an inconsistant drug testing/punishment policy, I don’t have any issue with Slive. He inherited a slow moving freight train that can drive itself, all he really has to do is occasionally tap the breaks to keep it on the tracks and ensure he’s well aware of future obtacles.

        • HahiraDawg

          Oh no doubt he landed on a printing press. I don’t like the guy or decisions like the expansion. The original tv deal was a horrible failure and …, well the list could go on and on. I’m not a MS defendant by ANY stretch. Only pointing out that he and ME ain’t in the same predicament. Other than here they often get lumped together due to both being unfavorable to this constituency. I merely point out MS has a constituency where he is favored and by all accounts this includes his presidents, ad’s and probably the majority of the coaches.

  4. Dawg in Austin

    And what would the value of an A&M jersey be if Manziel and the other 500 top college football players took their ball and played in a different developmental league? I’m pretty sure the jersey of Texas State’s QB doesn’t compare. What douchebag.

    • Certainly not defending Delany or the NCAA, but if the NFL owners could make money on a developmental league, they would have done it years ago. I guarantee that the NFL doesn’t want anything to change because they get players ready to compete at the highest level without the capital investment necessary to build out a developmental league. I wouldn’t go see Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall play for the Raleigh Roughriders of the NDFL but will pay the donation and season ticket prices to see them as Gurshall in the silver britches. I imagine that a lot of college football fans feel the same way.

      • Dawg in Austin

        Of course, but the NFL isn’t the only vehicle for this, despite being the primary benefactor. And the money to be gained has only very recently become dramatically larger. So just because it hasn’t happened yet is not a valid argument.

        My point is re the value of jersey sales though, and to argue further with Parrish’s point below, the jersey sells as a result of the quality of the product. If the product were lessened the jersey won’t sell nearly as much, and the value would therefore be diminished.

        • I don’t see anyone jumping into the developmental league business for the reasons above. The WFL, USFL, XFL and NFL Europe failed because people don’t want to pay $$$ to see developmental players and the networks won’t shell out the bucks to broadcast it. If you look at the minor leagues in other sports, they don’t generate the cash without a significant subsidy from MLB and NHL.
          I agree about the value of jersey sales, but the numbers change over time because the long-term value is the front of the jersey not the back.

  5. mike in orlando

    Unfortunately for players, I think Delany’s comments are the way most of college sports’ higher-ups feel (most of them, though, are smart enough not to comment — or at least not comment in the way that Delany does. The guy just can’t seem to keep his mouth closed — sort of like Emmert). The whole “let them eat cake” mindset is going to come back to bite the NCAA in the ass, though.

  6. More than Meets the Eye?

    Are the requirements of an NCAA grant-in-aid legal? Probably. But if they do go down, then the research apparatus at these universities get turned on their head as well, because they are predicated on the same sorts of “in perpetuity” intellectual property principles.

    O’Bannon and the related issues challenge the basic university structure on several fronts, not just the relationship between universities and their star athletes. From their perspective, there’s a lot more at stake than just athletic department margins.

    • HahiraDawg

      hmmm, hadn’t considered that MtMtE. Wow. Help someone not nearly as smart as you understand the relationship between “intellectual property principles” (such as in research achievement) and identity use (exploitation) in marketing? Again, I hadn’t considered this.

    • 69Dawg

      There is a big difference between intellectual property rights. The school controls the work product of it’s researchers “in perpetuity” not their image for the rest of their lives. The problem is that this suit was only about EA sports use of the players stats and image, until the NCAA was too dumb to settle then it escalated. Now it is a full blown corporate destroyer like an asbestos law suit.

      • Always Someone Else's Fault

        Exactly. The universities control the work product in perpetuity and owe the researchers nothing if the work product returns $18 trillion next year or 10 years from now. The expansion in the O’Bannon suit is completely focused on compensation for the work product, isn’t it, even if the original claim is focused on image rights? That’s how I read it.

  7. Go Dawgs!

    I really have to wonder just who in the hell is working in PR for the NCAA and the Big Ten. They need to take their bosses into an office and lock them in and hold seminar after seminar on not being an asshole until they get it. Douchebag statements like this one do nothing to help their case. Absolutely nothing.

  8. While I agree Delany is a prick, he’s right about Manziel. What sells first is the name on the front of the jersey. Without that, the name on the back of the jersey doesn’t matter.

    • Hmmm… I guess that’s why they rushed to trademark “Johnny Football”. ;)

      It’s a symbiotic relationship. Both sides gain something.

      • Oh I know A&M benefits. No doubt about that. But A&M is selling jerseys of Reggie McNeal. The Atlanta Storm (or whatever the Arena team was) isn’t selling Manziel jerseys. When Manzeil is gone, 100,000 will be in the stands.

        • And next year, when Manziel markets his personal rights, he’s going to make a fortune.

          • Exactly…and a lot of that is because of what Texas A&M provided him. Had he gone to Iowa State that might not have been the case.

            • Monday Night Frotteur

              The most marketable NFL players right now are Drew Brees (Purdue), Tom Brady (Michigan), Peyton Manning (Tennessee), and RGIII (Baylor). Manning’s profile was definitely facilitated by his time at Tennessee, but most of his endorsement value comes from his success in the NFL and his skill as a spokesperson. Michigan obviously has a massive fanbase too, but Brady was pretty anonymous coming out of Michigan and built his value almost entirely in the NFL.

              Baylor and Purdue’s football programs are hot garbage. Especially Baylor; if anything Baylor’s fanbase is smaller than Iowa State’s. Brees and RG III built their value entirely on their own. I think Manziel’s more like Brees and Griffin than Manning. I don’t see many (any?) Tannehill jerseys out there…

            • A lot… but not all. Which is why the revenues should be shared.

              • AusDawg85

                But should the sharing be equal? Can Georgia be allowed to offer a top prospect a greater share of revenue than another school because we “can afford it”? Doesn’t that just make recruiting a bidding war then? And if all things must be “equal”, who decides that…the NCAA? ROFLMAO at that!

                Pandora’s box is cracking open….

                P.S. My stance would be to allow stipends that are equal among all athletes and stop the use/stats/likeness in college merchandising. Yeah, yeah…dream on.

                • Likeness sharing should be as equal as the marketplace dictates.

                  • AusDawg85

                    So you’re OK with Saban telling a recruit he’ll make more $$ at Bama than another school (even if true)? Even the major leagues had to try to stop the rich getting richer with salary caps, luxury taxes, etc. I’d hate to see CFB go there.

                    • No. I’m okay with Johnny Manziel making more money off his likeness than TAMU’s third-string right guard makes off his.

                    • AusDawg85

                      So the schools would have to have a mandated cap/budget to spend on student athletes and could parcel out the cash as they see fit…supposedly based on merchandising sales? But really, you can’t track that specifically. I’d rather the schools stop profiting off of specific players than open-up this can of worms to (mis-)manage.

                • Monday Night Frotteur

                  Do Georgia and Alabama pay their coaches the same amount as Purdue, NCState, and New Mexico pay theirs? Are Alabama’s football facilities identical to Mississippi State’s?

                  Recruiting is a bidding war now. Assume it becomes an even more open bidding war; so what? What’s wrong with bidding wars?

        • JN

          Apples and oranges are being compared here. This line of thinking would never be used for any other type of business out there. The Yankees would still be the Yankees without Jeter, but there’s a reason they made him the face of their franchise. The Braves would still be the Braves without Chipper Jones, but there’s a reason they paid him more money than anybody else. The San Francisco Giants were the Giants long before they got Bonds, but they sure as heck rode that cash cow while they could. Exxon Mobil would still be a fortune 500 company if their CEO resigned and they hired a new one, but there’s a reason that new CEO would get a package that offers him more money for being fired than 99% of people will make in a lifetime. The question isn’t whether or not Manziel creates benefits for A&M, it’s what type of benefits does Maniel offers the university compared to other football players. The same can be said in any workplace. The (insert highest person of any size said company here) makes more than everyone else because he offers more to the company, more specifically, he is responsible for generating more revenue than anyone else there. My workplace offers me benefits just like I offer them benefits, but my compensation is based on what I offer them compared to what my coworkers offer them. Like you said, A&M will still pack their stadium in 2014, but no one on that team will generate the revenue that Manziel does/did, and I’d be willing to go out on a limb and say it won’t even be close.

          The other question is this. If A&M is still A&M without Manziel (and the same can be said for any other big name cfb team, any conference, or the NCAA), then why are they using his likeness for more money? Therein lies the problem with all of this. Which is it? Are cfb athletes only worth the scholarships they’re offered, or are they worth the millions they generate? It can’t be both. Has to be one or the other.

          Here’s the most simple way to put it. If your company was making millions of dollars off of you, how would you feel if over three years your salary was equal to Manziel’s cost of tuition, board, food, and books for three years?

    • Monday Night Frotteur

      This is incorrect. If it were correct, there would be no (or at least nothing other than random) fluctuations in jersey sales. TAMU would not sell more jerseys after Johnny Football’s Heisman campaign, and the #2 would not be more popular than #57 or #19, etc.

      Non-monopsonistic leagues share the revenue of jersey sales between franchise and player, and players get almost all of the revenue from outside endorsements (e.g. Peyton Manning doesn’t have to sign over to the Colts the check he gets for endorsing DirecTV or Mastercard).

      • Of course the better the player the better the sales. But if the player played for, say, Montana, he’s not selling that many jerseys because the fan base isn’t there, and the fan base isn’t there because they don’t have the history of Texas A&M. So each definitely benefits from the other’s presence.

  9. Monday Night Frotteur

    If Johnny Manziel was playing arena football tomorrow, what is his uniform worth?

    Probably a lot; Manziel is (arguably) the best under-22 football player in the world. But that’s irrelevant; Delany’s question is predicated on a Marxist approach to value, where guys with pointy beards sit around stroking their chins thinking about “how much is this guy’s labor worth, man?

    In a free market, schools would have to bid against each other for top recruits (and players signed as recruits for less than one year scholarships). TAMU could take the position that its name generates all the value and thus could offer only scholarships requiring players to sign their likeness rights away. Other schools could bid against that offer by offering recruits full control of their image/celebrity rights. The likely outcome would be what we see in the top leagues now (and even in Europe! Nick Calathes pulls in several hundred thousand/year in endorsements playing EuroBasket), and Manziel would get some of the value from his jerseys and all of the value from other endorsements.

    Of course, that’s not the only counter. I’d love a reporter to ask Delany If Colton Chapple were TAMU’s QB in 2012, what is his uniform worth?

  10. cube

    A $71 million profit. And yet, they sat there with a straight face and told us that they had to expand the basketball tournament from 65 to 68 in order to generate more TV money, which was needed to help pay the operating costs for all the other sports’ postseasons. Just more lies.

  11. Hogbody Spradlin

    Delany reminds me of something with that no compromise bit. Oh yeah: “Segregation new, Segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!”

  12. JN

    Well Jim, I would say his jersey would be worth the same as your name would be worth if you were running a company that grossed 1-2 million per year. What’s your point, Jim? He didn’t make A&M, the SEC, or CFB what it is, but you didn’t make the Big ta-leven-elve what it is either. Yet, you don’t mind your handsome salary. Again Jim, what’s your point?

  13. Dog in Fla

    It’s good to know that LSU people are in charge at the NCAA

    “A class certification hearing is scheduled for June 20. Last week, NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy called the plaintiff’s reply brief supporting a motion for class certification ‘baseless theories supported only by inaccurate speculation aimed at destroying amateurism in college athletics.’”

    That was easy