Meeting Johnny Football halfway?

Given yesterday’s embarrassing disclosure about the NCAA’s on-site shop, this John Infante post arguing that there is a middle ground somewhere between “complete professionalization and rigid amateurism” the NCAA could explore is both timely and interesting.

That brings us back to Johnny Manziel and his signature. Autographs and memorabilia seem like the perfect place to start with amateurism deregulation. There is already an open market that dictates the value of these items, meaning less chance for an athlete to be ripped off. There is actual work or value that athletes have to put in, either by signing hundreds of items or giving up memorabilia they earned. Any number of other ideas can be tried as well, like limits on missed class time or the involvement of agents, boosters, and/or the institution.

What kind of limits?  Infante has a few suggestions.

If boosters overpaying for autographs is a problem, prohibit booster involvement or set a standard rate. If some agents are good and some agents are bad, have an agent registry with dedicated rules and staff. If interference with academics is the fear, then prohibit athletes from missing class or move as much commercial activity to the summer as possible.

There might also be an added bonus in that allowing the Manziels of the college athletics universe to cash in on their names could blow a hole in the O’Bannon class action certification.  Plus, this arrangement sidesteps a host of potential problems that direct pay for play create, such as Title IX ramifications and having to treat student-athletes as employees.

It’s all probably too logical for Emmert to absorb, though.

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76 Comments

Filed under The NCAA

76 responses to “Meeting Johnny Football halfway?

  1. uglydawg

    What about the lesser known or unknown athelete that is never asked for his signature, etc?

    • He gets paid what the market thinks he’s worth.

      • uglydawg

        Sure..but that doesn’t solve the problem for many kids. There still needs to be a stipend or something. High profile atheletes are going to be all right…it’s the second string offensive lineman types that will be left cashless. Let them sell their names, but figure out a way to help them all out a little….and you have been an advocate of this…thanks.

        • One doesn’t preclude the other.

          Infante’s proposal is easier to implement in the short run (it doesn’t cost the schools anything), avoids the side issues created by direct payments and eliminates a hypocritical situation, which presumably makes the NCAA’s defense of the remaining amateurism protocols better justified.

  2. JRod1229

    This just begs for exploitation.. “I’ll give you $10k a year for your autograph if you play at school here”. High Schools kids would just go the highest bidder (which is determined by the market). If you want to have a set rate, OK.. well now I’ll just 500 people to buy an autograph at $20 a piece per year.

    I’d be shocked to see the NCAA even attempt to let this slide. It’s beyond their comprehension (and mine).

    • RocketDawg

      This is where I think it will go as well. You will have some unscrupulous booster *cough Auburn cough* that will “guarantee” some HS kid 5 signings a year @ $50k per for 3 or 4 years he is there. It makes recruiting a “who is giving me the sweetest package” thing. Not that we don’t have those kind of boosters (I am sure we do), but as strict as UGA is on drugs/arrests etc do you honestly think that we won’t be at even a bigger competitive advantage as we follow the rule to the letter? We won’t ever get another 4* or 5* recruit.

      • Why is it any harder to prohibit booster participation in this area than anywhere else?

        • James

          Agree and disagree. Boosters now do things like land athletes no-show jobs, or try to get cute with fundraising events. A car dealership and status as a booster are inherently related.

          The issue I see here is there’s a very big overlap between the people who drive the market for Jonny’s autograph and the boosters of football programs. The guy who has the disposable income to donates to the school for great season tickets is also probably the same guy who’s pushing the upper end of the signature market that sparked this whole Miami story in the first place. That seems tricky to solve.

          I suspect there’s an interesting system that could be worked out with a registered brokerage system, but I don’t think you can cut boosters out of this process.

          I like this as something to explore, but I do wonder if it just makes the actual root issue worst, which is that the financial incentives of everyone involved are directly at odds with the ameturism base this whole thing is built on. If we’ve learned anything it’s that trying to self-regulate around that doesn’t work.

        • 81Dog

          Consider me a cynic. It seems like that’s going really well at places like Auburn, Ole Miss, Tennessee, doesn’t it? The whole “free market dictates the price for autographs” sounds great on paper, but as my Economics professor, Dr. Hayakawa, pointed out once “Economic theory works great as long as you can assume a set of conditions that almost never exist in the real world.” Given the previously referenced schools suspected ability to exploit, sidestep or flat out ignore the current rules prohibiting any booster payment, it leads one to suspect they’ll find an equally brazen way to exploit any rule that allows the handing out of actual cash to players.

          Really, I’m surprised one of them hasn’t set up a church to act as a money laundering operation for player payments, similar to what happened in one of Dan Jenkins’ excellent novels about college football.

          • The wrinkle I’ve always wondered about is why a booster doesn’t set up an independent minor league baseball team in order to sign football players to baseball contracts.

            • 81Dog

              Milton McGregor and Jay Jacobs are discussing putting an independant league curling team in Shorter, AL even as we speak. You, sir, are a true visionary! Did you ever intern for Whitey Bulger in your youth? ;-)

          • Cosmic Dawg

            Like many foolish people, Dr. Hayakawa thinks a theory can somehow be good “on paper” but not work in the “real world”. This is false on its face, of course – that just means it’s a bad theory. I suspect the real reason he doesn’t like “free market theory” is not because it doesn’t work, but because it allows individuals the freedom to act independently of the way Dr. Hayakawa and other social engineers think they should act. He can’t say that, of course, so he has to pretend to defend free markets (“on paper”) before trying to dismantle them en route to more horrible policy experiments.

            The market is the only useful device for pricing, even in a world of fraud – a problem no economic system can overcome because it’s outside the scope of what it claims to do. The market won’t get you to heaven or stop somebody from shooting you, either. Tinkering with its price-setting mechanism doesn’t improve things, it makes things worse – like saying “the car doesn’t run perfectly, let’s give it a flat tire, too.”

            Free market theory works amazingly well in the real world, in fact, it IS the real world – the “theory” is simply based on observable human behavior. You may also observe the progress of civilization for its first million years vs. the last 250, when free markets in the west had the reins for really the first time in history. Most problems assigned to the free market actually stem from government policy – you can argue whether that’s necessary or useful, but don’t saddle the free market school with problems it does not create and does not claim to solve.

            It is mostly the math-obsessed side of economics that make claims about the “real world” its models cannot possibly support – usually to justify some politically-motivated idea for regulation or intervention in a market that would otherwise be serving its citizens very well. But math always looks good and official in a powerpoint to people who don’t understand it.

            Conversely, “good” economics is a very reliable social science in terms of its application in the real world, and economists like Friedman, James Buchanan, Thomas Sowell, and UGA’s own excellent George Selgin have a lot to teach us.

            Here’s a terrific econ website/podcast I think you and Dr. Hayakawa might enjoy: http://www.econtalk.org/archives/great_depressio/

            • 81Dog

              he didnt say it didnt work. He said it didnt work as smoothly as the theory suggests because the actual real world has variables that the theory presumes wont exist. Just because it doesnt work perfectly doesnt mean it doesnt work, and that wasnt what I (or Dr. Hayakawa, as I recall) was suggesting.

              the free market solution for paying players for autographs is that there are market forces (boosters) who are willing to pay players more than the fair market value of the autograph in attempt to influence them to join or remain in their program. The overpayment makes no sense from a collectible standpoint, but it makes plenty of sense to a booster who wants to corner the market on 5 star recruits or All American players.

              all I was suggesting was that bleating “let the free market solve it” isn’t the same as actually solving the problem, and given the external forces outside the “market for memorabilia” that can affect the price of memorabilia, it isn’t a simple solution in this instance.

              Thanks for the attempted econ lesson, though. You sound like a guy who read Wealth of Nations as a freshman and thinks it made him Adam Smith.

              • Cosmic Dawg

                Hey Dr. Snark, you’re the one who brought in your academic credentials when you mentioned your econ class and quoted your prof. However, I was quick to get on my high horse, and I apologize. I often see this criticism of free markets as a “good theory” that needs help from high-minded people who see a market failure under every rock. There are always “externalities” that somebody thinks they can fix, and it invariably leads to more problems that need more solutions.

                I appreciate your point as you have made it here, but not as you made it above – you said free market theory was flawed because of “the real world” – i.e. people could “sidestep and exploit” that system – which they do in the regular market, too, by not paying taxes, bootlegging music, etc. All I did was ask you not to hang fraud and cheating and govt-created externalities on “free market theory”. I actually think allowing some players to make some money off their likeness /. autographs will *reduce* the incentive for going underground.

                As far as a booster paying an athlete $50k for an autograph to convince him to come to a school, etc – I like the idea of amateurism, but only when it’s truly voluntary. I’d say let anybody get paid any amount that anyone wants to pay them, to do whatever they want to do. I wonder if you’d mostly discover a market for 10,000 boosters who want to support the kids by paying $20 an autograph here and there, rather than $50k windfalls for individual players – that “big payday” would possibly even eventually go away or go out of vogue b/c of the cumulative effect of many people paying smaller amounts.

                • 81Dog

                  so you disagree with my premise, which was that free market economic theory doesnt cover many real world variables, but you agree that free market theory doesn’t cover many real world variables. OK, I apologize for feeling lectured to by your response.

                  I’m not sure I’m “touting my credentials” by mentioning that I once took an econ class, which surprisingly enough came with a teacher, who actually made observations about the material. I didn’t say I was Milton Friedman. I guess we can just agree to disagree that we agree, or whatever your point was other than me and the good doctor were foolish people.

                  How you like them apples? ;-)

                  • Cosmic Dawg

                    My original point, however heavy-handed, was that in crafting your statement the way you did you suggest the theory itself is to blame for the obstacles, not the obstacles themselves. I am okay with someone making the argument that we shouldn’t have a free market when it comes to college athletes’ signatures – even though I might disagree. But people will say the market is not working in situations like health care or tuition, and it’s simply because there are artificial restraints or stimulants in those industries, but that doesn’t mean the theory doesn’t work in the “real world”. And I’m sure you and the doctor are very smart people, I took out my soapbox a little too quickly in making my point, and I’m sorry about that.

  3. How about they get a scholarship to attend college and we leave it at that?

    Love it when the knee jerk response is to create more bureaucracy.

    The easy thing to do is to allow players to turn pro whenever they like. Then, after more and more players don’t make it, maybe they’ll understand the true value of their scholarship.

    Have a nice day,

    BD

    • What’s the justification for not letting a kid profit off his name, while the schools and the NCAA do?

      Infante’s post is hardly knee-jerk.

      Agree with you about letting kids turn pro at any time being the best solution. Unfortunately, the NFL doesn’t agree with us.

      • I see a feller around town named Jay Barker. He’s been profiting off of his name for about 20 years now. :)

        (Knee jerk in the sense that a rule was supposedly broken and the media uses this as a hammer to pound through their agenda.)

    • Ubiquitous Ga Alum

      Add in housing, food, books & medical care and you’ve got yourself a deal …

    • Gravidy

      Bravo, sir. You win the internet today. I could not agree more. And the answer to Blutos’s question about the justification for not letting a kid profit off his name is that he can turn pro if he doesn’t like it. Or he can not play football at all. Or he could start his own league. Or…well, you get my point.

      • “Or he could start his own league.”? Seriously?

        It doesn’t bother you in the least that the schools and NCAA profit of a kid’s name but prohibit the kid from doing so?

        By the way, where can a football player who’s less than three years out of high school turn pro?

        I guess I don’t get your point.

        • 81Dog

          I agree completely that the NCAA and the schools are making millions off (mostly star) players. I just don’t know a way for them to share in the profits that wouldnt make more problems than it solves.

          Maybe the answer is for colleges and the NCAA to quit treating themselves like a mini-NFL, quit extending the season, quit playing games on weeknights, take away some of the “non-profit” tax breaks, and just approach it like the “extra curricular, amateur activity” that they claim it is.

          Sure, that will result in less tv money, less opulent training and stadium facilities, but it would also (perhaps) restore the game and the players to the spot they were intended to fill when intercollegiate football was conceived: students from our school playing students from another school.

          Of course, that won’t ever happen. Too much money to be made by treating it like a “business”….except when it comes time to pay the labor. It isnt like the scholarships are without value, or the access to training, nutrition, coaching and travel. But the money now is so big that it’s kind of ruining the game.

          • Darrron Rovelll

            If the athletes want to force the NCAA’s and their membership’s hand on this particular issue, all of the athletes need to get on the same page and refuse to sign autographs for ANYONE while they are student athlete. If a fan asks, politely decline and say “I don’t want a Johnny Manziel situation to jeopardize my eligibility.” Tell them you are happy to take a picture, have a conversation, etc – just no autographs.

            If the school comes calling asking for a signature for a charity auction or something of that nature, simply decline and say “Why should I sign something for you to make money off my signature when I am forbidden to do the same.”

            If a memorabilia broker comes calling, simply decline and say “I am protecting my market value and limiting the supply of my autograph for when I can profit from it.”

            Now I realize this will not happen, but it is the advice that I would give to each and every one of them. Don’t sign period, especially for free and especially so others can profit from it. Control your market value, limit the supply – it will help reduce forgeries. It will keep you eligible until the rules change.

            Plus it will piss off the athletic adminstrators, marketers, bowl committees, etc who are making $$ off this. It will force them to change.

            Also, it will set the market value at a very high level for when you can take payments for your signature. Can you imagine how much money a Tebow could have made when he finally did sign? Even if he didn’t want it for himself, he could have donated it to his charity. Same for Manziel.

            Sadly most of these instances are just college student looking for some $ for Spring Break or tattoos.

            • James

              A lot of these guys feel social pressure to sign for friends and family (Manziel mentioned is specifically), Tebow often signed for incredibly under-privileged or sick kids form what I remember, and I know one of these Manziel-derivative stories was about some other player being approached by a guy posing as an in-service member of the military that wanted to bring back a couple of signatures to his base.

              I totally agree with you, but without an agent (or someone else to play bad guy) I think that’s a pretty tricky situation for most of these star athletes, who often have no or no good professional advice available that isn’t fully tainted by the motivations of NCAA member schools.

              • Darrron Rovelll

                Exactly … if I was close to someone in this situation, i would advise them to never sign for anyone until their eligibility is exhausted or the rules are changed. There is too much of a risk that it could threaten your eligibility. Plus I think it is ethically wrong for the schools and organizations to profit from it while the athlete cannot.

                As I send during the AJ Green situation though, most of the student athletes are not seeing this as an issue that can be used to get people sympathetic to their side. AJ just wanted money for Spring Break. Manziel probably was looking for the same.

            • Cojones

              My opinion is that it is just as easy (?) to do what you propose as it is hard to do what Bluto proposes. You are correct in that if there is no market for CFB memorabilia while they are in college, there would be no need to do anything else. Anything on the market would be taken as a forgery and how would the seller prove otherwise?

              How can the NCAA not punish those marketers if it is not permitted for a player to sell his memrabilia.? If it is signed (and certified not to be a forgery), why isn’t that proof that it was signed by the player with intent to profit specifically where many items are listed and numbered?? That not a random signature given to some small kid; it’s a business. Proving money to exchange hands is bullshit when that memorabilia isn’t permitted to be sold in the first place. That would require the NCAA and others to back out of the business as well.

              Why isn’t this a good proposal by DR?

        • Gravidy

          Well, first of all, my “he can turn pro” remark was a hypothetical response to BD’s proposition. I should have made that more clear.

          As for your main point… I dare say I’m as big of a fan of capitalism and free markets as you’ll find. But that isn’t the point. This isn’t the LAW we are talking about here. These kids don’t have to play college football. Playing college football is a privilege reserved for a mighty darned few people. And in order to play college football, they have to abide by countless NCAA regulations. Many of those regulations concern the athletes’ inability to profit from their names. They enter this contract willingly.

          Look, I know I’m not going to convince you to see things my way on this issue. But in case you hadn’t already figured this out from my previous comments on this blog, you can put me firmly in the camp of those who don’t think college athletes get such a raw deal.

          • The kids don’t have to play college football.

            The schools don’t have to prohibit them from making money off their likenesses. Nor do the schools have to make money off those likenesses themselves.

            As for kids entering into a contract willingly, they have to sign a one-sided deal without benefit of legal representation. That’s something else the schools don’t have to do.

            You can put me firmly in the camp of those who think there’s a lot of bullshit in college football.

            • Gravidy

              Hey, I’m in that camp too!

              • It’s hard not to be.

                What I think you’re missing is that this may be the last chance the NCAA has to exercise some degree of control over the situation. There’s no telling what happens if the plaintiffs in Keller and O’Bannon win.

                • Gravidy

                  No, I’m not missing that point. I realize college football is at a crossroads. I also realize I’m almost certainly going to like college football less and less as time goes on.

                • 81Dog

                  I dont think it’s a question of “if” as much as it’s a question of “when.” And, perhaps like the long ago lawsuit by UGA and Oklahoma that broke the NCAA’s stranglehold on broadcast rights, the decision is probably going to have a lot of consequences, many of them unintended, that no one really foresaw when the suit got filed.

            • Gravidy

              And, no, the kids don’t have to sign a damn thing. I understand your point. I really do. But we will never agree on this issue.

          • Cosmic Dawg

            Gravidy, I used to be 100% in your camp, and I still think the kids get a pretty good deal. Unfortunately, we can’t have it both ways. We can’t claim capitalism and then allow the colleges to engage in what is essentially a cartel, protected by the govt, that engages in price fixing. The NFL is essentially a cartel, too.

            So, since we’re looking at a govt and taxpayer funded cartel, not unlike an electric company, we DO get to set the rules, and some of us think the kids ought to at least have the right to their own damned names and faces, especially in light of the fact that they’re not allowed to work anywhere else!! Where is the free market in that system?!?!

            I personally don’t want to pay them – that is a problem for me. But I do think they ought to be able to take a job in the summer, sell their autograph, or sell a jersey if it’s not school property.

            • Cosmic Dawg

              Engages in price fixing with the price = zero, btw.

            • Gravidy

              I’m not having it both ways. I’m a proud capitalist, even though the world is steadily moving away from my point of view. But unlike laws imposed by a government, we have a choice about whether or not we want to accept a football scholarship offer from an NCAA institution. The athletes enter a contract with the school willingly. You don’t think the contract is fair? Fine. Don’t sign it.

              I know I sound like a hard ass on this issue, and if that is your take from my comments, then so be it. But, in my defense, I’m certainly not saying the system is perfect. The NCAA pisses me off on an almost daily basis it seems. There’s plenty of idiocy to go around. In a perfect world, sure, I’d like to see some way for the athletes to be able to profit from their names as long as the baby isn’t thrown out with the bathwater.

              Here’s my position on the issue as succinctly as I can state it in this forum: I’m not against the athletes being able to profit from their names and likenesses. I’m against them eagerly entering into an agreement and then bitching about the terms of that agreement after the fact.

              You and Bluto are saying the system is unfair, and I agree with that notion in general. You both want to change the system to make it more fair without damaging the game. That’s a wonderful goal, and I hope you succeed. Just don’t expect me to shed too many tears for the athletes in the mean time because I don’t think they get such a raw deal.

              • Cosmic Dawg

                No, no, I don’t think you sound like a hard ass, and we are in agreement that nobody forces the kids to sign the contracts. However, again, I think the various *public* forces I’ve mentioned do not create a level playing field for them to find a use for their talents elsewhere, because nobody can create a rival league so long as CFB is subsidized and protected.

                It’s like you’re a house builder and suddenly the govt goes into the house building business and uses taxes and legislation to create an unfair advantage for the state-owned builders vs the private ones, and everybody tells the private builders they should either walk away from their opportunities or shut up and sign. It’s just a little unfair.

                I also think it’s okay to sign a contract and then work within a system to try and change it.

        • Joe Schmoe

          Why couldn’t the NCAA (or someone else preferably) run an eBay-like auction website that is the only sanctioned place for these items to be sold by the players? This would create transparency as to what is being payed for what. Any really bogus looking transactions could be investigated.

          • I think there are plenty of ways to skin the cat, if the NCAA was of a mind to do so.

            Instead, what I expect to happen is that the NCAA gets its ass handed to it in either the Keller or the O’Bannon case (or both), and the floodgates open.

        • PTC DAWG

          Yep, the kid chose to take the scholly and play football. With that came certain rules/parameters. I don’t get the problem. I stated yesterday, they don’t have to play football…is there some sort of gun pointing I don’t hear about?

          • Cosmic Dawg

            Yes, the colleges and the NFL have used the force of the government, collusion (including wage and salary suppression), and my tax dollars to create a cartel that prevents entry into this industry by other football entities. If I don’t pay my taxes for the new Falcons stadium or to fund UGA, they will bring a GUN to my front door and take me off. If I wanted to form or join a new football league, I’d have to fight the power of my OWN tax money to do it. So yes, there is a GUN to the head of anyone who doesn’t want to participate in this system.

            • PTC DAWG

              I thought we were talking about high schoolers choosing to sign football scholarships?

              • Cosmic Dawg

                I’m pointing out that the athletes’ “employers” do not have any real rivals for their specialized talents, and when there are only two mills in your town, and both are politically connected, and no other mills are granted licenses to operate, and the two owners of those two mills get together to set fix wage rates, and they’re subsidized by your taxes, that’s not capitalism!!

    • PTC DAWG

      I tend to agree with the Bammer on this one.

      • Cojones

        Question: Why can’t the NCAA and the schools back out of this marketing crap and return the game to where it once was? The cynic says”Because money and free market dictates this to ruining CFB and it’s gonna’ happen”. Others may say “We are the Masters of our Ship and we can correct it any way we want”.

        Unfortunately both would be wrong and we are hung in limbo by powers other than our own U and team.

  4. Ubiquitous Ga Alum

    “If boosters overpaying for autographs is a problem, prohibit booster involvement or set a standard rate.”

    If you exclude boosters from the market, who exactly is going to purchase the memoribilia? As for setting the market rate, that’s a very subjective and variable target … For example, a signed picture of CJ Mosley tipping the final pass of the 2012 SEC Champ game would get next to nothing in Athens, but tell me some fan wouldn’t gladly pay $100 or even up to $500 for the “honor” of having that picture … Who set the market?

    The boosters …

    • There’s already a market set now… just go to Ebay.

      • DawgPhan

        get ready to kill the market.

        There are probably 5-6 college football players who could actually demand serious money($1000+) for their signature. To create such a sticky situation for the sakes of getting a couple of hundred bucks into the pockets of a handful of players seems like a bad idea.

        Can players run their own ebay stores? that might actually be better. create a ebay store for each school and allow the players to sell whatever they want through that store. transparent, market based, and they get some business experience. that might work.

      • Ubiquitous Ga Alum

        Yes there is and if some booster knows that his “purchase” goes straight to CJ Mosley or Johnny Five Star then there is incentive for exploitation …

        I heard Trevor Madich (sp?) talking about this the other day … He gave a hypothetical where a school shows some star recruit their campus and lets them know that one of their contracts is with a national sports memorabilia company that has assessed said players worth and determined that they can guarantee him $10,000/year … The next school gives the same pitch and ups the ante to $20,000 and so on … If the recruit flames out, cut him and move on … Slippery Slope

  5. heyberto

    I haven’t thought this through fully, so I know some of you will be able to pick this proposal apart, but here’s my thought –

    – Player stipends, uniform for all.
    – Additional income (like profiting from autographs) has to be held in a ‘trust’ of sorts, and is unlocked when the athlete graduates, or moves on the NFL. If you leave early, and cash in without going to the next level, you forfeit eligibility, just like when you contact an agent. That way you don’t have atheletes running around living a crazy and unrealistic lifestyle on campus, but they’ve got ‘walking around money’.

    • Cousin Eddie

      McGarity is all for holding money in a UGA account to draw interest. Think how much larger the reserves could be if the players could chip in a little more. (I Joke, well sorta.)

      • heyberto

        That doesn’t mean the university holds it. Although, if it sweetens the deal. I’m with the Senator that they’ve gotta get out in front of this thing.

  6. uglydawg

    This whole thing is a Pandora’s box…but throwing out ideas never hurts.
    I’m no socialist, but I do understand the resentment that comes with a class system…..imagine the lineman who hasn’t a penny blocking for the All American running back who is driving a new car and is loaded because he is selling his name….it could cause a lot of discontent. In high school, we had a hot-dog QB who thought he was the stuff. Resentment grew over his arrogance and we eventually had offensive linemen walking up to the line of scrimmage and telling the defense if the QB was rolling out or keeping the ball, right or left. It was funny. I’m not saying this would happen, but to a lesser degree it might. Crap…Hill might not even get voted back on the team at LSU if this were the case.
    I offer another thought…..All the money the team players can make as a team….from home made videos, photos, team signatures on footballs and shirts, etc….if they come up with it and it is classy, let them market it for the team…which could even be a corp. or something…Then the team will share equally in the profits..either by divvvying up the cash or getting a stipend and a savings acct. that will be given upon graduation. This takes the resentment and so forth out of the situation and rewards everyone…and I don’t see how it hurts the school, the NCAA or anyone else.

    • You think those kids who signed pro contracts in one sport and then come back to school to play as an amateur in another are resented by their teammates because they’ve got more money?

      • 81Dog

        those kids didn’t get their other sport pro money at the expense of their current teammates. If you’re paying college players according to their “star power,” be it free market autographs, memorabilia sold, etc., the stars will rake it in, while the grunts get nothing. That certainly seems to have the potential to incite class envy. If the somewhat anonymous OL who are blowing open holes for Gurley (and by using him as an example, I dont mean to imply he’s got an attitude or seems like anything but a hardworking, talented kid. He’s just a convenient big name) see him cashing in, would the other offensive players resent that? Or the defensive players?

        I’m a laissez faire kind of guy for the most part, but imposing a free market template on a system that started out as anything but a free market approach seems like it will create a lot of problems. Next thing you know, we’ll be outsourcing positions to India, China, Mexico, because we can get OL cheaper. Or at least placekickers.

        • You make it sound like a zero-sum game. It’s not. Your hypothetical lineman isn’t getting paid anything now, so why should it matter to him if Gurley gets paid?

          You think AJ’s teammates were bothered by him receiving that $1000?

          • uglydawg

            There are two things going on here…concern that a lot of players need a little cash and have no way of getting any…and letting those who can cash in. Both have merit. I’m just suggesting there may be a solution that would control (if not solve) both situations.
            People react in different ways. Some linemen would be bothered by it in some situations, and some would not. I’d imagine there are personality clashes over this sort of thing more often than we know…I’ve seen basketball players refuse to pass to a player who was a shot-hog more than once…human nature won’t always be denied for the sake of the team.
            This is a useful discussion and one that should be going on in the NCAA offices.

          • 81Dog

            It’s not a zero sum game, but now nobody gets anything. There are some kids who have family money (see, Manziel, Johnny), some kids who have baseball money (see Carter, Quincy) and some kids who have zero money. There are some kids now with no money who don’t resent the rich kids, because on the team, everyone is the same. If you start injecting “money for status” into the equation, it may not cause the scrubs to resent the stars, but it may cause the pretty good players to resent the stars. Or maybe the stars resent the pretty good players. It’s an added layer of complication.

            let’s face it: money affects everything. If you bring your own money, where ever it came from, into the situation, that’s a lot more the luck of the draw and less likely to be an issue among team members, seems to me. If you take the team and start waving cash at some guys and not at others, based on BEING ON THE TEAM, you run the risk of resentments being harbored.

            How many NFL lockerrooms, or NBA, or MLB. do you see people grumbling about money? Who gets it, who should get more of it, who gets more than he deserves, who can’t get more because it’s already going to someone else?

            I dont think AJ’s teammates cared about him having an extra grand. I also dont think we’re talking about one or two guys scoring an extra Grover here and there when you talk about paying for autographs. If Gurley gets a lot (however one defines a lot) and the OL clearing holes for him get nada, nobody may be mad at Gurley, but people will be unhappy, and that often leads to problems. I am certainly no sociologist, or genius, but that’s just my flush reaction. I could be wrong.

          • Cojones

            Now you are speaking for human nature, Senator, and your cynicism won’t cover the checks your butt is writing. Ugly and 81 are onto something that you are giving short shrift. It makes more sense to correct the problem in the same milieu that has presented the problem. Yeh, it’s not going to change the entire picture, but it would get the NCAA back on the footing that you want and the players, acting as a part of a team in sharing rewards, is a good idea that can succeed. Why don’t we hoe that row of corn?

        • Cosmic Dawg

          The OL who are opening holes for Gurley will have their own sets of incentives. If they don’t block, they won’t play, potentially lose their scholarship, etc. Also, when you write “at the expense of their teammates” – what expense? Doesn’t everyone benefit from a star like Gurley playing for Georgia, someone who elevates the program and everyone in it, including his OL? If Gurley helps win an SEC championship, suddenly the OL has a chance to sell a jersey or autograph, too…

          I wonder if the answer isn’t a combination, just like it is in regular companies. Super talented people make a little extra (by selling their autograph) but they also make the entire company money, which helps everyone else, too. Perhaps we should simply let the stars sell their likenesses, autographs, etc – but the college also gets to sell Gurley-named jerseys and general Dawg gear and pays other athletes a stipend, which is a percentage of merchandise sales.

  7. uglydawg

    It’s a rainy day and I’ve got too much time on my hands so here goes another thought…
    It college football teams were organized into small corporations where the players could make money to be used for all of their benefit, it would put smaller schools with small fanbases and maybe poorer fanbases at a disadvantge in recruiting.. (ie…”.I’m choosing Notre Dame because the
    money is a lot bigger than it is at Virginia”, or Ohio State over Iowa State..just a lot bigger fanbase that sells a lot more stuff). So what if all NCAA teams were incorporated into one huge corp. that would take care of all athlete’s stipends, and maybe even a savings acct of some sort? Yep, this sounds like socialism…but it’s pretty much the way our nation’s economy is run. Schools would still own the school logo stuff, but the players personalized stuff…videos, signatures, etc…would benefit only the athletes. I’m probably in way over my head suggesting this, but what else is new?

    • South FL Dawg

      Let’s just go back to the stipend idea. While I think it is fair to pay them for their autographs and memorabilia, it is just easier to administer a system where everybody gets the same thing and no more. The amount I’ve seen getting kicked around of $200-$400 per month is paltry considering all the time the players put in. Just go ahead and start with football players at least. As has been noted they do not have an option to play professionally out of high school like the other sports. This is not going to be bullet-proof but nothing is (just look at how we got to this point). Don’t just look at this from the point of view of a Manziel or a Newton; this stipend is for the honest kids, the ones that don’t take money from boosters and don’t game the system.

      • South FL Dawg

        This was meant as a general comment, not a response to any particular post. I guess I haven’t had enough coffee this am.

  8. Macallanlover

    Lot of great points above guys, another example of how good this blog really is. As someone who favors getting reasonable amounts of money to the players, but doesn’t feel it should go to all scholarship athletes; who believes in the free market system but hates the cheating from boosters and lack of control problems that will inevitably occur from this idea; who feels the schools are not exploiting the athletes, but feels some of the profits should fund the need for cash; who opposes socialism but feels profit sharing is damn smart of management to incorporate in a compensation/incentive program; who loves amateurism but is aware there is a cost to becoming a top, amateur athlete; who has a passion for college sports but sees the root cause of this issue threatening its very existence if something dramatic isn’t done; I am torn in every direction.

    I think there is more than enough money available to throw at this issue that would solve the problem, but equally confident it will fail because of incompetent, bureaucratic, PC, legalistic BS. Small amounts of money, $500-700 per month to football/basketball players is affordable for the big schools to pay, is controllable, and can be monitored. Unlimited individual signing cannot be monitored and doesn’t reach all the recipients unless cheating is involved…that is my reason for opposing this as a solution. If the signing is conducted by the schools, earned money put into a team pool, and paid out at a set amount, this might work.

    • uglydawg

      Good thoughts by Mac and S Fl Dawg…but Mac..to your point that the larger schools can afford to pay the 500-700 dollars a month….this would pretty much put an end to any hopes small schools have of signing elite atheletes. Any system put in place should have balancing provisions so that stipend sizes don’t determine choice for recruits.

      • Macallanlover

        I don’t see the big schools and smaller programs as competitors, I fully support the separation of classes with the top 64 not interacting. But if they must for some watered-down scheduling need, how is it different than the current system of 1A schools beating up on 1AA? To the victor goes the spoils, the bigger schools will get the best athletes coming out of HS….they already do. The mid-majors like GT already aren’t attractive to the best players. (BTW, aren’t service academy players paid?)

        81dog, no system can afford the Title IV requirements, they already can’t, just like society cannot afford to carry the dead-weight we are being asked to. As I said, the PC crowd will screw this up. If a sport doesn’t pay their way, there is no “extra pool” to play athletes from. That isn’t just female sports, it is baseball, golf, etc. The scholarship is all the burden that should be paid, we have to pay many entitlements in this country but at least we aren’t being required to provide BMW and Lexus cars…yet. Let the rock throwing begin, I am a cruel, cold-hearted man.

    • 81Dog

      I like a lot of your thoughts, Mac. I just dont know how all of that would be possible under Title IX.

      you could set aside money for players to finish school, or for medical treatment needed as a result of competition related injuries, or even for disabilities. All those kind of support the idea that they’re college athletes. Paying them anything pegged to how big a star they are seems like the NFL.

      I dont think players who get a full ride are being taken advantage of, but I also dont think it’s fair for colleges to get rich off them with little or no regard for anything but how much more money they can rake in. It’s a tough nut to crack.

    • Cosmic Dawg

      Nice post.

  9. AusDawg85

    Solutions can’t be found until the problem is clearly identified. To find the problem, follow the money trail. Rules are already in place to prevent a booster from paying a kid $10,000 for his autograph (see Manziel, Johnny or the Curious Case of Mr. AJ Green, etc.). Now, those are tough rules to enforce, so the punishment is made severe if caught. Not a perfect system, but that’s sorta, kinda, working (cough, Scam Newton, cough, cough).

    The problem is the NCAA profiting from the kid’s likeness. That’s the real money trail. So change the rules so that the student-athlete owns their own exclusive rights to their image, autograph, etc. This doesn’t prevent UGA from selling a jersey, perhaps even with the number “11” on it right now. But they can’t let AM’s image, signature, etc. be used to sell merchandise. Conversely, Murray could not sell items prior to leaving school or else be subject to forfeiting his eligibility. (because the value of AM’s image/signature, etc. is enhanced by his participation at UGA and cannot be de-linked. If he were already famous prior to enrollment…say as an Olympian or from a pro sport prior to attending UGA, then he should be able to retain the right to sell his “property” as long as it does not reflect or use UGA in any way.)

    Allowing the NCAA to continue to make money off of specific players and not just the institutions is the root of the problem and the answer is not in finding a way to share those proceeds, it’s making that (arguably) illegal activity stop. (I say illegal because forcing a player to forego property rights seems to be an unfair trade practice as a condition for participation at an NCAA institution.) Recent activity makes me think this is, in fact, the way the NCAA may be headed.

    This also permits the issue of player stipends to be examined independently (as it should) rather than get caught-up in free market economic discussions. Full cost of attendance is a better way to resolve the value of scholarships, loans, etc. provided to student-athletes.

  10. 69Dawg

    Missing in all the economics and contract law that has been talked about is the fact that in order to play football at the Pro level you must be out of high school for 3 years. Last time I took contract law a contract was not valid if one party was forced to sign it. I know they can just quit playing football but let’s be fair how many of us would sign crappy contracts to work if we had no other choice? This argument is a real stinker. The only solution is for there to be Pro football minor leagues. The NFL tried to do it in Europe but they were just testing the market and fell flat on their faces. Minor league football if done right could make money and serve to get the thugs out of college football. Model it on the NBA developmental league, keep it for 18 – 20 year olds and if at the end of that time they are not good enough to go to the NFL they will at least have made a living. Hell if the NCAA really gave a tickers damn about the “Student-Athlete” they would let the kids come into college, if they could gain entrance, and play for a number of years just like they let pro baseball players play. The NCAA and the band of robber barons that is the University Presidents would never do this, nor would the NFL until it’s feeder system gets disrupted. If college football goes down the drain the NFL will have a minor league within a year.

  11. uglydawg

    On a side note…it’s beginning to look like JM has screwed the pooch.