Is Mark Emmert hinting at a way out of O’Bannon?

The NCAA president is all over the place in his remarks about student-athlete compensation at the IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum in New York City, but there’s one little mention of something that might be worth keeping an eye on.

Some have suggested players could be compensated by selling their autographs or by being permitted to market themselves. While Emmert said the latter is at least being discussed, he says the autograph issue seems like a non-starter. [Emphasis added.]

The reason I can see there being some movement on that isn’t because it doesn’t violate the NCAA’s sacred rule of amateurism.  Face it, the extra subsidy Emmert’s already on board for crosses the pay for play line no matter how hard he wants to deny it.  Nah, the reason it’s got a shot, however slight, of happening is because it won’t cost the schools anything.  Which is more than you can say for pursuing O’Bannon all the way to the Supreme Court, especially if the NCAA comes out on the losing end of the stick.

Am I being cynical?  Is there any other way to be about this?

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Is Mark Emmert hinting at a way out of O’Bannon?

  1. gastr1

    You’re probably right, but I’d be surprised if they hadn’t planned what to do in case of this scenario. It has seemed like an obvious free-market-based solution for some time. Why should the schools/NCAA care if players make a little money from their status? I’ve never quite understood how they could justify that, and of course O’Bannon confirms that they can’t.

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      “I’d be surprised if they hadn’t planned what to do in case of this scenario.”

      gastri…come on…planned and NCAA in the same sentence?

    • James

      Meah, I’m way on the Let’s Get Real side of things, but I actually get why they can’t allow profit off likeness cleanly. If an athlete wants to sell autographs or an album the recorded, the only way to implement this fairly is to somehow vet that every sale is at a fair market price, and that’s inherently impossible. You’re going to try and cram a legit free market approach (let players get paid what they’re worth to be football players) into a single limited free market transaction (autograph sales), and it’s going to make things worse imo.

      O’Bannon isn’t really confirming the unfairness in profit off of likeness, it’s confirming the entire premise that you can call college football is amateur in nature.

    • Cosmic Dawg

      Obviously the argument is that right after a kid signs with UGA he signs an autograph for a fan who pays him $1 million.

      It’s difficult, because I sure don’t want to see cfb become NFL Jr, but I also wish these kid could make a little money, and I lean very hard toward free market solutio

      I say let teams pay their expenses + up to $500 per month pocket money. If the school wants to recoup some of that small investment by selling jerseys with names or autographs on eBay, well. okay.

      Option #2 is to just end all the rules on athletes working (except the school can’t pay them directly). You could even enforce violations of paying players to play simply by setting up a standard that any pay must be within 20% of fair market value for that good or service….subjective? Not really anymore – it’s pretty easy for those trained to do so to determine what a waiter makes or what Johnny Football’s autograph is worth on eBay.

  2. Cousin Eddie

    The NCAA will set it up so the school manages the marketing to make certain nothing “inappropriate” goes on, then the school charges a percentage of funds raised as a management fee, which a portion goes to the NCAA for being so kind to the student athlete. Money for everyone.

  3. fatman48

    Why? should the NCAA get a cut, they get paid millions every year to do “NOTHING”. They made a ton of money in there online store selling autographed student athlete merchandise, and the student-athlete got zip, zero, na-da. In my opinion the NCAA is like the Government their policy is “Take,Take and Never Give….

  4. No quarter!

    Ok but what’s to stop a big time booster at Alabama from telling a kid “come and play football at Alabama, we will give you $10,000 for your autograph (wink, wink, nod, nod)”. Boosters are already funneling money to players now. If you make it ok to pay players for their autograph then the don’t have to hide it anymore. Then the arms race will really begin!

  5. Don’t know if there is any other way to be about this….It was said that a cynic is someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing….In this scenario, there is not other way to look at it.

  6. How does Connor Norman sell his autograph and who actually pays for it? Lol! There may be a handful of guys on any team that could make a little walking around money off their autographs.