Seth Emerson entitles this piece “Georgia players, Richt, disagree on autograph issue”, but if you read it carefully, they’re really just squabbling over peripheral stuff.
Here’s how the players interviewed break down:
- Drew and Dawson say the existing rule is all that’s currently relevant.
- Garrison Smith thinks players should be paid.
- Jordan Jenkins thinks players should be paid in general, but he doesn’t think autographs should cost money.
Jenkins is articulate on the subject.
“It’s sort of like you’re getting screwed off the system because you’re making everybody else money,” Jenkins said. “The NCAA, I don’t care what they say, it’s based on your likeness, that’s money they’re making off our image and stuff like that. … It’s sort of like you’re earning other people money for four years and you don’t get a little bit of it. I know some people say it goes to the scholarship, but I feel like athletes earn the university so much more money than that scholarship.”
So what does Richt disagree about with his players?
But Richt expressed a reservation, shared by many, that it would lead to larger problems.
“I just don’t know how it could all work where it didn’t become so hard to manage,” Richt said. “If you just said, OK everybody can sell their stuff, you can just imagine yourself what that might turn into and how problematic it could become.”
Richt did agree that athletes should get some money, reiterating his support for “at least” a $2,000 cost-of-attendance stipend, which the SEC has supported.
“And we were ready to go further than that,” Richt said. “But we think that’s the best shot of getting more money into the hands of our players.” [Emphasis added.]
In other words, even Richt supports the concept that student-athletes should receive compensation. His disagreement is over the method of distribution.
Face it, folks, amateurism is dead. Not a single person interviewed by Emerson has a thing to say in support of the NCAA’s guiding principle as justification for not paying players.
Granted, this is a small sample size. But I’ll bet you’d find it representative if you asked a lot more of their D-1 peers.
Georgia Tech’s got its celebrated “Football Triple Option Pack” available again this season – pick up tickets to the Georgia game and any two other Tech home games for the low, low price of $170. (That’s not much more than what a weekend at Dragon*Con would cost you. So there’s that.)
Tickets went on sale to the public July 31st. I’d urge you to beat the rush, but who am I kidding here?
You’ll be on your own for the Cokes and hot dogs, though.
If it’s true, as the AJ-C‘s Georgia Tech beat writer suggests, that Giff Smith has yet to find a position after he was let go by the Buffalo Bills, might I suggest tapping into that mighty reserve fund and bringing the man on board in some sort of off-field support position, à la what Nick Saban’s done with Kevin Steele?
Smith can recruit, which, as any Stingtalk poster will assure you, is no easy task at Georgia Tech. You’d think he could help in Athens, plus you take his return to the Flats off the table. It’s a win-win for both parties.
Of course, if he wants to stay in the NFL, that’s a different story. But it seems like it’s at least worth making a phone call to gauge his interest.
Shockingly, three high-profile members of Georgia’s first opponent this season were able to attend this past G-Day game without incident. No beer bottles thrown at them from the upper deck, no urine sprayed on them, no threats, no cursing. Nada.
Somebody should alert Stingtalk that it’s possible for a fan of another team to attend a game in Sanford Stadium peacefully. At least if you don’t behave like a douchebag in the first place.
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.
Plenty to snack on today: