The Cases Against the NCAA

By Johnny Ginter on June 10, 2014 at 11:00a
77 Comments

Do you like money? I sure do, especially ever since The Simpsons taught me that money can be exchanged for goods and services. Once I found that out, and then realized that other people will literally just give me money for working for them, everything just kind of fell into place.

That's how the world is generally supposed to work. Unless you're an NCAA athlete, specifically an NCAA athlete that plays either football or basketball. Then your money making ability is going to be severely hindered because of a tangle of jargon that explicitly says that hindrance is to make sure that uh, something something amateurism corruption money stipend something bad evil SMU. That'd be all well and good (I mean, it wouldn't, but just stay with me here), but at the same time the organization that doesn't allow you to profit off your adorable face is selling the rights to said face to video game companies and television networks.

Put another way, let's say that you are somehow good at two things. I know it's tough, but use your imagination. So anyway, you get paid to do one of those things, and you're generally pretty happy about that. But man. That other thing. You're really good at it too. And people know you're good at it, and will pay you money for it. But wait! Your boss refuses to let you do it, or you'll be fired. But you say okay, because hell, it's a job, and this kind of thing happens all the time.

Then one day you see your boss videotaping you doing that other thing that you're pretty good at. People pay him big time money for that video, and you have to be cool with it, even if the money that your boss makes far, far outweighs the money you're getting for your job. That might make you pretty angry. Maybe even angry enough to sue.

That's essentially what O'Bannon v. NCAA is about. Ed O'Bannon, a former UCLA basketball player, is suing the NCAA to force them to allow student-athletes to profit from their own likeness. There are many, many, many summaries of this case to be read (I personally recommend the CBS Sports article), but O'Bannon himself boils it all down to this quote:

"If they are generating revenue for their school, I believe they should be compensated"

And that's pretty much it!

Of course, the argument that we're going to have is whether or not a scholarship/stipend/etc. is just compensation and commensurate with the profit that the NCAA generates from using the image of collegiate athletes. That's actually the wrong argument that we should be having (and I'll get to that in a second), but it's the one that people seem most interested in having.

And to that point I understand people who side with the NCAA in that case. I am roughly 25,000 dollars in debt, and that's entirely due to college loans from my undergrad and grad school. I pay over 430 dollars a month in loan payments, which is fine because I'm basically the nerdy human version of Smaug sitting on top of his piles of gold, but if I weren't that could be a huge issue for me.

In other words, I sympathize with people who look at NCAA athletes, with a free ride to college, free room and board, tons of free food, in the physical prime of their lives, and thousands of adoring fans. Sounds like a pretty sweet gig, and if there's one thing that Americans will not abide in a world full of death and injustice, it's other people pointing out that they've got it better than us.

WHO IS THAT GUY????

Of course, we like to ignore the fact that it's all conditional for those athletes. Scholarships can be stripped, along with any benefits. Horrific injuries can occur, with schools sometimes unwilling to help. Fans can turn on a player in an instant. And above all, there's an incredibly small chance that any of the work that they do athletically will amount to any financial gain whatsoever. Given that, maybe it's understandable that an athlete would want some kind of monetary compensation for who they are.

Maybe you don't agree with that. But on the other hand, by settling with Sam Keller and other athletes in a suit against the NCAA and EA Sports, it sure seems like the NCAA has:

Berman estimated that more than 100,000 athletes are now eligible to seek compensation over EA video games they contend relied on close depictions of college football and basketball players.

"With the games no longer in production and the plaintiffs settling their claims with EA and the Collegiate Licensing Company, the NCAA viewed a settlement now as an appropriate opportunity to provide complete closure to the video game plaintiffs," NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy said.

The NCAA is going to pay out 20 million dollars as a result of this, and it almost seems like an admission of defeat on their part. Steve Berman, an attorney for Keller and the other plaintiffs, noted that in the future, "if they (the NCAA) are going to use players likenesses, they will have to pay for them." Sorry about the lack of NCAA '15 on the shelves this year, although really, you probably won't miss it.

And that's the true issue at stake here. It isn't about who is getting paid what, or how much money a player is owed, or whether or not athletes are getting too much aside from their scholarship. It's about the fact that a likeness is being used, extensively, and the owner of that image has little to no say in how it is used and will never see compensation for said image. That's a fundamental problem of fairness that I think anyone can recognize.

Yesterday Ed O'Bannon talked to reporters about the trial, as he had taken the stand yesterday:

Pomerantz then asked about the Little League World Series, which provides nearly a month's worth of popular television programming each August for ESPN.

O'Bannon, sticking with his theory, said yes.

O'Bannon hardly seemed resolute in his response. But the moment was a win for the NCAA, which has held itself up as the guardian of amateurism in the U.S., a term with an evolving definition but one that at its core involves significant restraints on the ability of athletes -- at whatever level -- to share in the revenues they help generate.

Why was it a win? Is it that illogical to say that any athlete, even a kid, deserves some compensation for their image being used to make a profit? Why is that so ridiculous?

Last thing: I bet you noticed how incredibly creepy that analogy got there at the beginning.

That's because exploitation is creepy. Telling people that they're not in charge of and cannot benefit from who they are and what they do is a weird and creepy level of control. It's time that the NCAA admits that.

77 Comments

Comments

jamesrbrown322's picture

What if they just compensated them for the use of their image, and took away their scholarships, instead asking them to pay their own way out of the compensation that they receive? Furthermore, the NCAA can just ask athletes accepting scholarships to waive their licensing rights, can they not?

I still think that the fair thing is to allow the athletes to utilize their image to make up to a certain amount of money, but no more, with steep penalties for violation. Let's be honest, with food, books, and room and board all free, isn't $20,000 (that could be the MAXIMUM  permitted) a pretty decent amount of "spending" money?

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

+1 HS
Johnny Ginter's picture

why is there a maximum though? there's no maximum on what the NCAA or EA or the B1G could earn on naming/tv/likeness rights. why do they get to participate in american capitalism and athletes dont?

fear_the_nut70's picture

They are college students Johnny, pure and simple.  I know this causes some people to chuckle, but that is because we tend to focus on the sexy 1% (Amercians always think big and follow the money).  When doing the numbers, almost 99% will never be drafted or play one down of football in the NFL (the numbers are even higher if Div 2 and 3 are included).  This means that, for the vast majority, college is actually about earning a degree and using sports as a method of paying for it.  But this isn't sexy, so people don't focus on it.  For every Johnny Football, there are more than 99 college athletes that fit my description.  Sorry folks, but the numbers don't lie.

Also, what happens with college football players is no different than what happens in other realms in the college community.  College labs are staffed with students working for tuition, room and board, and little else despite the fact that the universities get multi-billion dollar government grants.  Doctoral students do research and even sometimes write part of papers that get published in journals by professors who must "publish or perish."  Those students get tuition (and maybe a by-line and nothing else).  For some reason, we have lost sight of the fact that WE GO TO COLLEGE TO LEARN SKILLS SO THAT LATER WE WILL HAVE JOBS THAT PAY US FOR WHAT WE LEARNED, and those 1% are handsomely paid after college.   They are students and NOT employees.

Finally (and this is definitely the third best argument here), but when people talk about the money a 1% athlete generates, they often ignore the value the college brand helps to create based on a century of playing football.  While I don't doubt that more people would go out to watch Johnny Football and schools sell several more jersies, does anyone really think the impact would be the same if JF went and played in the Canadian Football League right out of high school?  The universites have covered the cost of building that brand for a century and pay ALL of the expenses necessary to currently have a football program.  Texas sold out games when VY was winning a championship and years after with stiffs f%cking a football because they are Texas.  I never hear this bandied about when this topic is discussed.  How would one even measure the value of individual players in this light?

Hope this adds to the discussion and I welcome feedback...

 

+14 HS
yrro's picture

If OSU stopped selling #5 jerseys or selling rights to video games, or preventing athletes from even using their own names on music albums they produced in their spare time, I'd have much more sympathy.

The athletic department is making money off of these kids' likenesses as football players, above and beyond the OSU brand value itself. At the same time, they're restricting their ability to make money themselves. I went to school on an academic scholarship in CS -- nowhere did it say I could not write my own code and sell it under my name because of that scholarship. If Zuckerberg played a sport, Facebook would have been an NCAA violation.

If the point of going to school is to get an education, the point of the school should be to teach. The amount of commercial merchandise and crazy TV deals would seem to indicate that someone has gotten away from that point, and it isn't the athletes.

+4 HS
Norwalk's picture

I'd buy a #99 Ohio State jersey with no name on the back. I wouldn't buy a Braxton #5 jersey that didn't have Ohio State colors and logo. 

+2 HS
1MechEng's picture

Actually YRRO, you're not quite correct.

If you use the University's programs, software, and hardware, then the University may own part or all of the intellectual property you develop.

However, if you do it in your dorm on your personal laptop with your own legally licensed software, you're good.

To translate this over to football ... The University supplies the "hardware" - the stadiums, training facilities, football equipment, programs, etc., so they have an implied legal right to some/all of the benefits from the success by one of the Users of said facilites, etc.

On Edit: This concept carries over into the "real world" as well. If I develop something new and patentable at work on work equipment (computers, etc.), then it belongs to my employer, regardless of whether or not the concept or product is work-related or not.

+1 HS
yrro's picture

But the NCAA restricts *all* uses of their likeness. Not just likenesses directly resulting from football success.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/more/news/20130220/joel-bauman/

+1 HS
NW Buckeye's picture

1MechEng - Actually some employment contracts, particularly in the tech field, call for all developments by the employee to be owned solely by the company whether developed on company time/equipment or elsewhere.  Employment contracts vary, but what you wrote about the "real world" could hold true even without an employment contract in place.  And, yes YRRO, there are situations where any developments by an employee are 'owned' by the employer.  

And, as long as we are talking about "real world" situations you might as well throw in the non-compete clauses that exist in many employment contracts.  An employee may be free to pack up his bags and go to work for another company, but there are restrictions imposed (quite successfully in some cases, not so much in others) that prohibit working for or engaging in direct competition.    

OSUBias's picture

One measures the value in the number of jerseys/shirts etc that they sell with their number on it. It's partially Ohio State's money, because it has the official logo on it. It's partially Nike's money, because Nike makes the jersey (assuming we're talking about official gear). And it's partially the player's money, since we are only buying it because they are good. In no way should it be any of the NCAA's money.

While Braxton is at OSU, every #5 jersey that is sold is due to him. Now you might get into trouble when you have double numbers (Roby and Dontre were both #1 last year). In theory you could sometimes argue it was partially bother guys. But that's a different argument than player vs. NCAA money.

 

Shitter's full

BishopBuckeye's picture

Fear_the_nut70 has done an excellent job of outlining the most cogent points of the argument against player compensation above tuition reimbursement.  His second paragraph rings most closely to home for me, although this ought not detract from his other points. 

As a former doctoral student at Ohio State, I supplied my services to the university as an instructor, making a small fraction of what faculty members earn to do the exact same job, often with less experience.  If you were to ask a tenured Ohio State professor when the last time they were asked to teach five different undergraduate classes in as many years, or the same undergraduate class four times in as many years, the average professor would say that neither has ever happened to them.  GTAs, at a prestigious graduate school like Ohio State, go on to take tenure-track jobs at schools all over the country.  My point is that they are glad to have the teaching opportunities they get at Ohio State because they realize that those duties turn into jobs.  For the best, they turn into fantastic, career-making jobs.  It's no secret in the academic realm that graduate students are a desirable source of cheap labor for their respective departments.  Universities the size of Ohio State couldn't function without them.  Yet, there is no cry for graduate students to be "fairly compensated" for the revenues they allow colleges to accrue by virtue of the undergraduate classes they teach (which, one might argue, when taken as a whole, are certainly larger than that provided by the athletic department).  I am not being sarcastic when I say that I am not supporting such a movement.  

Of course, there is a research load, as well.  Those same faculty members are expected to do productive research, and this is outlined in their contracts.  As are the graduate students.  Without successfully passing research requirements, PhD students will see their tuition grants terminated and will not complete their degrees.  In fact, in addition to the aforementioned teaching load, and perhaps more important than that load, one of the most significant metrics by which graduate students are judged when on the job market is the quality of their research.  If one's research is not worthy, one's job is not good.  It's almost as if enrollment at Ohio State (or any other major research university, for that matter), at far below the wage of a professional academic, provides a student with a fantastic opportunity to become one, contingent on his or her effort and success at the duty at hand.  I don't hear anybody pleading the case of the poor graduate student.  Nor do I plead that case.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Fear the nut pretty much has nailed it right on the head IMO.  That's the point of being a student-athlete.  If you're good enough to play professionally, then you'll get paid bigtime, and maybe you get your degree, or maybe you don't.  Otherwise, you get your degree and find a job.  Either way, college prepares you for what you really want to do in life.  These athletes see that their universities are making so much money and feel entitled to a piece.  That's part of what's wrong with society today - entitledness.  I deserve money NOW, not after I have to put all of the work in to graduate college or become good enough to be drafted to play professionally.

Class of 2010.

jamesrbrown322's picture

Because the athletes get a scholarship. That cannot be discounted. Also, what everyone seems to forget, like it or not, is that the revenue at many schools helps to support the scholarships for athletes in programs that do not make money.

If athletes are going to participate in "American capitalism", then Title IX MUST be abolished, and we can all say goodbye to women's basketball, wrestling, soccer, tennis, golf, baseball, ice hockey, lacrosse, field hockey, swimming, rowing....etc., etc., etc. at virtually every major school. Is that really what we want?

I say that they know what they're getting into when they agree to accept a scholarship, and that it is a contract with terms. If the NCAA wants to use your image, you should either be compensated in some form, or should be asked to waive that right. It's pretty simple.

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

+4 HS
osusteveb5875's picture

I like your idea of capping the amount earned for likeness but how could you even police it and ensure that it wouldn't cause more problems?  I would agree that they should be able to earn money off their likeness but wouldn't that open Pandora's box?  We would have (even more so than today) have straw men boosters bidding for players (ie sign this autograph, I'll pay you 100k for it if u sign with X school even though you're an unproven 17 year old).  Even if it were capped you could have the straw men doing it for an entire recruiting class the day they come on campus.

If anything, I guess it would at least put the rest of the country on equal footing with the SEC

jaxbuckeye's picture

This argument is absurd. People don't pay for the image of Johnny Manziel. They pay for the image of Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M QB. Without the opportunity the school provides, and compensates with a scholarship, his image is worthless. 

why is this so hard for people to understand?  No one is MAKING you play collegiate sports. Feel free to market your services and image on your own. 

+2 HS
Johnny Ginter's picture

chicken and egg argument. would people pay nearly as much for TAMU gear without johnny manziel or uuuuuhhhh jorvorskie lane? of course not. it's a mutually beneficial relationship, except one party is getting waaaaaaayyyy more compensation

rdubs's picture

And one of the A&M board members wants to name the stadium after Johnny Manziel, so maybe we should refer to A&M as Texas A&M, Johnny Football Host University.

+1 HS
NW Buckeye's picture

Rdubs- So that brings up an entirely different aspect of all this.  It is becoming common practice to 'sell' the naming rights to stadiums to the highest bidder.  In Seattle we have Quest Field and Safeco Field as pro stadiums.  And many universities across the country are following that lead and raising extra money by selling their naming rights to the highest bidder.  There is unquestionably significant value in the naming rights associated with stadiums and companies are more than willing to pay for that privilege. 

Now, if TAMU wants to name the stadium Johnny M Stadium, just what is that worth to Johnny?  I mean companies are paying big bucks to have their name on the stadiums.  Should Johnny pay for this privilege?  And, in that light, the proliferation of any athlete's name and image is obviously worth something to that individual.  There are many companies and entities who would be more than happy to have their own names receive the publicity afforded to these college athletes. Just what is it worth to have your name become a household name across the country?  

We are quite often hearing the term 'market value' come up in these discussions, but it is usually used in conjunction with what the athlete should receive for the use of their name and/or image.  But, this is a two way street.  The athletes gain national recognition through their association with their University and team.  Just what is that worth to them and what would others be willing to pay for that publicity?  That is just as quantifiable as the estimates of market value of name or image. 

You see, there are two ways to look at this.  You can take the Sony Betamax approach where you restrict use of the brand (in this case format) or you can take the VHS approach and open up your proprietary information to widely distribute your technology.  Which one was more successful?  Looking back on the situation, the VHS approach kicked Sony's ass.  Maybe these athletes should take note. 

 

Norwalk's picture

These players don't have to go to college. They could choose to go pro instead...yep, I know the NFL has an age and grade requirement but that isn't the NCAA's problem. The could always take off a few clicks north and earn some Loonies. Eh? And...what about NCAA basketball players that choose to stay in college rather than enter the draft? Should they be compensated too?

rdubs's picture

I choose to work for my employer.  If I am not happy with my compensation I could go to another employer, or I could ask for a raise.  College athletes don't have that choice.  Also the point of the article isn't so much about paying them to play as it is about them retaining the rights to their image which are two distinct things.

+1 HS
jaxbuckeye's picture

How do you figure chicken/egg?  They absolutely buy it because it's A&M, just as I would buy tOSU without Braxton. 

-1 HS
yrro's picture

There have been studies showing that the increased brand value to the school of a good college quarterback is in the 2-3 million dollar change. They don't create the entire value, but they add a fair chunk to it.

+1 HS
jamesrbrown322's picture

Wonder how much Bauserman was worth...

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

+3 HS
jaxbuckeye's picture

I noticed you said a good QB and not Johnny Manziel. Thank you for proving my point. 

-1 HS
yrro's picture

I was trying to be more general. Manziel was toward the top of the study, at around $3 million.

cdub4's picture

Your argument is absurd. That is like saying people don't pay for the image of LeBron James, they pay for the image of LeBron James, NBA forward for the Heat. Yeah, I guess if the Heat didn't have a team and the NBA didn't have a league, he couldn't play basketball, but that seems ridiculous.

Also, as someone else stated, the schools seemed to market different jersey numbers based on current talent on the roster.

+2 HS
jaxbuckeye's picture

No, YOURS is absurd. If Lebron James never existed there would still be a SF on the Miami Heat whose jersey would be purchased. 

-3 HS
BroJim's picture

I don't buy your control argument. All these athletes choose to commit to a college and play a sport no one forces them.   

Another note, I can quickly see this turing into a gender argument. "Why do the football players get $2,000 (or whatever) and the Volleyball team only gets $1,000?" No one wants to have that talk; hopefully if athletes start getting a stipend they all make the same amount.

Furthermore, as you noted, these athletes have fans; what about the social capital that is created? You telling me Braxton Miller can't get a job after he graduates (Omit the NFL) 

These players do get paid however it's not the  "here and now" compensation that's everyone wants. An education is an investment for the future. 

I season my simple food with hunger

+5 HS
Johnny Ginter's picture

All these athletes choose to commit to a college and play a sport no one forces them.

why should athletes give up rights to their image as a condition of playing college sports?

Another note, I can quickly see this turing into a gender argument. "Why do the football players get $2,000 (or whatever) and the Volleyball team only gets $1,000?" No one wants to have that talk; hopefully if athletes start getting a stipend they all make the same amount.

this has nothing to do with a stipend, and the only gender argument that could reasonably be made is "why don't people pay female athletes for their image as much as they pay male athletes?" which has a pretty obvious answer. the point is that the money wouldnt be coming from the school per se, it'd be coming from the people actually paying for the likenesses.

Furthermore, as you noted, these athletes have fans; what about the social capital that is created? You telling me Braxton Miller can't get a job after he graduates (Omit the NFL). These players do get paid however it's not the  "here and now" compensation that's everyone wants. An education is an investment for the future.

The NCAA and schools are generating hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue on the image of athletes. saying that "at least they get an education" is silly when modern football and basketball essentially requires that athletes be players first and students second. this is the continued myth of the image of the student-athlete that just doesn't exist anymore. and even if it DID, "an education" while awesome, isn't hard cash. the "here and now" matters because you can actually monetize it, and legally that actually matters a whole lot.

BroJim's picture

"Why should athletes give up rights to their image as a condition of playing college sports?" If they don't like the terms of the contract of playing big time college sport they can play else where. The school is also apart of the image, Braxton Miller wouldn't be "worth" as much if he played for a D-III school. Bottom line if you want to make money off of your athletic talents don't go to college. 

It will be a gender issue on all levels weather you like it or not. 

You're right, they do generate a lot of money on the athletes, but a part of their image is the school the play for, not just them. Also, an education worth more than millions of dollars, it is priceless. 

I season my simple food with hunger

-1 HS
lamplighter's picture

In the real world (sorta), how can  employers require you to sign a non-compete clause?

I really think that many of the proponents do not give due weight to the value of the scholarship.  Thankfully, my daughter got a full ride to tOSU (poetry, go figure).  There were conditions placed on the receipt of that award, academic in nature.  She did not, however, receive the full range of benefits afforded to any of the athletes on scholarship, which would raise the value of that award far above the value of her award.

IF you really want the athletes to go the capitalist route, the requirements that the universities could enact might make you long for the days of the NCAA rules (not enforcement).  People wanting a hardship transfer?  Tough - you had to sign a non-compete clause, so another DI team is out of the picture (and there goes your "earnings"). And if you start reimbursing athletes for the use of their likeness, unless waived as a condition for the award,  then you bring the IRS and various state and local tax agencies into play.  Citiies now tax professional athletes for the wages earned in away games; Columbus could sure start doing that to players from the BIG and other schools  when they come to the Shoe, the Schoot, Bill Davis, St. John or any of the oher facilities- (actualy, I think they do that now for the pros)

Life isn't always fair

+3 HS
YTOWNBUCKI's picture

Johnny, you pretty much summed up most of my feelings towards this in your responses.

I am completely OK and support college athletes being compensated for their likeness.  If EA sports wants to make a video game and they wanna use Braxton Miller's name then he should be paid accordingly as should every player on the game.  Same goes for selling a jersey, rings, memorabilia.  It's the worst rule in NCAA that these guys/gals can't do that.  And that is entirely Ed O'Bannon's case.

Now, something not being pursued in this case, is stipends paid for by the universities themselves.  This is what I would have major issue with and I assume, based on comments above, so would everyone else.  Once you start that you get into some serious inequalities which are generally unacceptable in today's world.

Good summary Johnny and an even better perspective.

fear_the_nut70's picture

This may not make one bit of difference to you, but EA specifically did not use players names, only numbers.  fans had to go in and manually input names (for those that played the game, there would be people who would do this for free and you could download the information).  Now, Ohio State would have a black quarterback who happened to have similiar physical dimensions as Braxton (he happened to be wearing no. 5), so you didn't need a decoder ring to figure out who it was supposed to be, but they specifically didn't use names.  You can decide what difference that makes to you.

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

Remove the Ohio State uniform & how much is this image worth?

+1 HS
Johnny Ginter's picture

i think the people who fill that uniform are just as responsible for making it mean something as the university that gives it to them. remove archie griffin, chris spielman, eddie george, chic harley, braxton miller, scoonie penn, greg oden, and literally thousands of other people who made their jersey what it was and its just a piece of cloth that no one gets too excited about

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

Don't deflect.

How much is Braxton Miller's image worth without the platform of Ohio State University?

rdubs's picture

How much was an A&M jersey worth before Johnny Football?  How much was a Baylor jersey worth before RGIII? 

+3 HS
Johnny Ginter's picture

lol that's not a deflection, it's my point. i've already addressed it above, but the platform of ohio state wouldn't exist without players like braxton miller. again, it's a chicken versus egg argument. you can take this all the way back to "does ohio stadium get built without chic harley" and even then it's debatable.

both both the image of braxton miller AND ohio state are intertwined through over a hundred years of history, and the university and the athlete have had a mutually beneficial relationship that entire time, with one side benefiting the most by far. if it were so easy to just create a brand worth 140 million in revenue every year, why doesn't every school do it regardless of their athletics? TEXAS PAN-AMERICAN UNIVERSITY HAS 20,000 STUDENTS AND CAN ONLY MANAGE 7 MIL IN ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT REVENUE?!? what a bunch of lazy bums!

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

lol that's not a deflection, it's my point. i've already addressed it above, but the platform of ohio state wouldn't exist without players like braxton miller. again, it's a chicken versus egg argument. you can take this all the way back to "does ohio stadium get built without chic harley" and even then it's debatable.

Except that it's not really debatable once you get away from the myth. The plans to build a larger stadium were being made before Chic stepped on the field in Columbus. After his career finished and the plans were advancing there were arguments being made by some of the trustees for a much smaller stadium as they believed that a 60k+ stadium would never be regularly filled. That prediction actually held true for almost twenty years. The University chose to fund the stadium through private donations because football revenue was woefully insufficient to pay for it's construction.

Brand building requires significant investment on the part of Universities. Most of the big names initially made those investments decades ago when there was little financial return.

Luckily we do have modern examples that we can look at. Oregon, Louisville & Oklahoma State didn't suddenly become successful based on massive income boosts due to a few star players. They all started attracting better players after an influx of cash from outside sources.

Regardless we're not talking about an organization whose underlying mission is to attempt to provide as fair & even a playing field as possible. If we've decided to completely throw away that core mission then college football has outlived it's usefulness.

+1 HS
cdub4's picture

How much is Peyton Manning's image worth without the platform of the NFL?

I also would ask how big is Ohio State's platform with players such as Braxton Miller? Goes both ways. Miller would not be as popular at a lesser program, and Ohio State would not be as prominent without consistent pulling elite prep talent. If OSU de-emphasized recruiting and fielded a team of one star players, over time that platform would shrink.

+3 HS
IGotAWoody's picture

How bout you take the number 5 off of it? NOW how much is it worth. I'd say it means just as much, if not more to the kid playing the video that it's #5 (Braxton).

 - License to kill gophers (wolverines, badgers, etc) by the government of the United Nations

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

How bout you take the number 5 off of it? NOW how much is it worth. I'd say it means just as much, if not more to the kid playing the video that it's #5 (Braxton).

How much are Troy Smith Montreal Alouettes jerseys going for?

Regardless, what it ultimately boils down to is that you don't want players being reimbursed by 3rd parties because it will ultimately lead to third string Auburn players being paid six figures to appear on posters in the Tallapaloosa Casino.

Competitiveness fairness & for profit players are not compatible paradigms.

-1 HS
IGotAWoody's picture

You didn't answer the question. If the kid buying the video game is going to be playing generic players (no numbers or any other individual identifying characteristics), is he as excited about that game (the answer is NO). Is he still shelling out $40 for the game (maybe, but if the player's are just generic, not as likely).

There's a way to do this that eliminates the current model (NCAA and the universities get all the profits), with some sanity and reason to keep it from getting out of control (or at least not any more out of control than it is now). I like the idea of players being able to gain a percentage of the profits from their likeness, and having that money go into an account that they can access after their playing days. It's doable, it's no more complicated than the ridiculous system that's in place now, and it eliminates your concern about what will happen with Auburn's 3rd string quarterback.

 - License to kill gophers (wolverines, badgers, etc) by the government of the United Nations

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Why wouldn't the kid be as excited?  It's still the same game.  If he doesn't like generic rosters, or if he values having completely accurate rosters, then he can download accurate rosters from somewhere, or edit them himself.  Or he might not care about that and just want to play.  Hell, in dynasty mode, you end up with made up players once the "real" players use up their eligibility.

Class of 2010.

BroJim's picture

We know you think that.  

I season my simple food with hunger

+1 HS
yrro's picture

And yet the university keeps selling #5 jerseys instead of ones with no numbers.

The OSU brand is worth over $140 million dollars a year.

A 538 analysis show that Braxton is probably worth about $1-$2 million of that.

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-much-college-quarterbacks-are-wo...

+2 HS
Buckeyeneer's picture

On the plus side, if EA decides to start making games again and paying players, I could actually win the National Championship with "Braxton Miller" instead of "OSU QB #5"

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes
THE Ohio State University

+3 HS
jamesrbrown322's picture

I bought a #5 OSU jersey the year after Michael Wiley graduated for $9.99. Later I bought a #10 for around $15 after Troy Smith left. Both worked out due to Chekwa, Miller, Shazier, etc. But, who should get the compensation? I mean which player's "image and likeness" was it?

I bought both jerseys because they were OSU jerseys, not because they belonged to a particular player.

The entire system is whack, I do not deny that. However, just giving the players a blank check in the name of capitalism is ridiculous.

Here's a comparison. I work for a Fortune 500 company with revenue in the billions. What I get paid is commensurate with receiving an all-expense paid college scholarship, and I DO have student loans to pay on, and did so while completing a law degree, raising two children, and managing a marriage. Now tell me, why can't I participate in American capitalism? Well, I am. I receive just compensation. Just as the players receive compensation in the form of a college degree and zero student loan debt. I'm fine if they are permitted to use their image to make a little extra, must there must be a cap.

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

+4 HS
Johnny Ginter's picture

but your fortune 500 company will likely not let you go if you decide to open your own business, and that's the entire point.

jamesrbrown322's picture

They may, if I hang out my own shingle and focus on that, it's certainly their prerogative.

Or, if I don't like it, I can find another career path right?

Look, I just think the fairest way to do it, while still sustaining the livelihood of a majority of "non-revenue" scholarship sports is to allow the players to capitalize on their image in some capacity, but a no limits approach is not the way to go. I think one thing that the NCAA should establish is a trust fund that assists athletes who suffer debilitating, long term, or catastrophic injuries while playing their sport. To not have that is inexcusable.

I think what gets lost in all this arguing is that there IS value in FREE college education. So let's not pretend like these kids get NOTHING. I think one step that the NCAA could even take is to limit practices more and allow these kids to get real jobs/internships. If they were serious about them being "student athletes" as opposed to "athletes who are required to do as little as possible to remain eligible and win football games," they would limit practice time and encourage paid internships for athletes.

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

+3 HS
rdubs's picture

But you could ask for more if you wanted to.  And if you were worth it to your employer they would pay you more.  I don't know why everyone gets so worked up about people asking to be paid what they think they are worth.  

+4 HS
jamesrbrown322's picture

Well, I think there is middle ground, that is my point.

If they want to establish a minor league, then just go ahead and do it. Once the 5 "majors" break off, which is inevitable, this whole argument is moot anyway.

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

+1 HS
rdubs's picture

I hope a minor league starts and it appears to have some momentum: http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/06/09/momentum-builds-for-deve...

+3 HS
Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

 I don't know why everyone gets so worked up about people asking to be paid what they think they are worth. 

If we paid everyone what they think they're worth there wouldn't be any companies left in business.

+3 HS
rdubs's picture

Right but why can't people ASK for it.  No one has to give it to them.  That is one of the fundamental concepts of capitalism and determining the monetary value of someone or something.  

+2 HS
Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

Absolutely. I'm just pointing out that in general people tend to overestimate their value.

It also brings us back to the underlying issue that a free market economy is antithetical to athletics. People tend to forget that pro leagues are not free markets either (drafts, salary caps, revenue sharing etc).

rdubs's picture

But each side has a somewhat equal say in how those things are determined given that the players voice is represented through a union.  College athletes only "voice" is to choose not to play college sports and let's be honest, that is really a false choice in the two revenue sports.

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

Which is why an alternate path needs to be provided for the kids who would prefer to pursue a professional option and for those who have no business being in school.

 

RedStorm45's picture

I think O'Bannon lost some credibility by sticking to his guns with the Little Leaguers comment.  Being compensated, at AGE THIRTEEN or younger, means these kids are essentially "employees" - which means they can be "fired."  Same goes for NCAA athletes wanting compensation.  You cross over into being an employee, which means every team could become Nick Saban with Alabama, except they don't have to cover up their firings with fancy words anymore.  They can just "we fire you" instead of forcing them out.

+2 HS
rdubs's picture

Kids get "fired" from little league teams every year.  It's called try outs, some make it and some don't, some who played last year won't play this year.  And you don't have to be an employee of anyone to receive fair compensation for your image use.

+3 HS
RedStorm45's picture

That is for making the team.  That has nothing to do with ESPN, as a hypothetical "employer," being able to "fire" them once they make it Williamsport.

jbcuky's picture

Who are the employers? The argument is the athletes should be compensated for their likeness.  If ESPN was to use their likeness, ESPN isn't all of sudden their employer.  I think you are mixing issues.

jamesrbrown322's picture

I have the solution -

If we're going to just flat out pay college football players, do away with transfer rules and the NFL Draft. Instead let's just go to a soccer-based transfer system. The NFL wants Alabama's QB? Then Alabama wants $10 mil. Ohio State wants USC's MLB? OSU pays USC $25 mil, then turns around two years later and sells him to the NFL for $40 mil.

Is that better? I know is this - based on what happens with many young people, especially young athletes, when they come into large sums of money for the first time, it ends up causing a lot more problems than it solves.

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

-1 HS
cdub4's picture

Baseball gives young athletes large sums of money. Some have issues such as Josh Hamilton. Most end up OK.

+3 HS
rdubs's picture

Exactly!!  I can't believe that was a serious argument.  It is extremely paternalistic to say that we shouldn't give the kids money because they can't handle it.  You know because the coaches are always such good role models that deserve the money: 

 

+1 HS
rdubs's picture

I wouldn't mind taking relegation. Throw Purdue out for Northern Illinois.

Xenia_Buckeye's picture

I am of the opinion that athletes should be allowed to make money off of the things they own...their face/image and their name.

However I am a firm believer that the school should be able to get money for their brand.

I think this will play out badly for us fans. I think the NCAA will do the minimum necessary to skirt the issue and still maintain legality. I think it will mean jerseys sold without names, electronic sports games without names and likenesses, and maybe even television angles where we dont get to see a face.

 

jamesrbrown322's picture

Honestly, I can see both sides of the argument, and respect both.

I am of the opinion that the players certainly do deserve a little more, and I still think that the solution is one that can be solved in the scholarship contract. That being said, I think guys like O'Bannon are really the ones getting screwed. Think about it - He's no longer a "student athlete," and yet the NCAA and EA Sports franchises capitalized off his image. Now THAT, is something to which I think we all object!

 

 

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

+1 HS
cdub4's picture

The whole system is screwed up. The real problem is that the NFL and NBA have a free minor league in college sports and neither the NFL, NBA, or NCAA has a financial incentive to establish a minor league.

Why are athletics and academics intertwined post high school for football and basketball in the first place, and why are college sports still the most realistic option for prospective prep athletes in those sports?

You play soccer or basketball world wide, you aren't expected to go to college. You can basically be illiterate. Grow up in Canada or U.S. playing hockey, you can go pro at a young age. Baseball player in the U.S., 17 year old from D.R., you can get paid if you desire, get an education in baseball in the minors.

Football and basketball are the sports with the age minimums and no minor leagues, although the NBA does have the NBDL which I think is a great idea. Basically, due to the system in place and lack of minor league football, and the competitiveness of college coaches a lot of kids are being recruited to college campuses who probably really wouldn't attend college if they had better options.

At this point I would never expect the NFL to establish a minor league, but as long as the NCAA is the de facto NFL minor league, you are ALWAYS going to have issues.

+9 HS
Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

100% in agreement. People are focusing on the symptom rather than the underlying cause of the problem.
 

+5 HS
Shangheyed's picture

NCAA is a group of schools that collude together to keep cost of labor low.  There is NO Negotiation, NO long-term Healthcare, You actually lose the rights that Americans have fought and died for because these schools want the CF athletes to pay for women's water polo (taking rights away from others to make things more equal, that is insanity).  We all have the right to make a living... we all have the rights to sell private property (backed up by supreme court rulings saying sales of private property is a protected right).

Society allows the taking away of individual rights to insure they keep prices low.  There is NO reason to think the game would be any different if a DB from Idaho was able to make and extra 500 dollars a month because he is who he is... FAME (ask Paris Hilton), and heck even the NCAA is discussing raising the stipend.   Why not just allow them to make money off their likeness, and sell private property and allow them to work and make a living like all other American Adults(most would be helping the families out working if not in sports again forcing whole families to live below there ACTUAL means). 

There is NO restriction on other college scholarship winners for hourly wage(imagine a math schollie student turning down a great Summer Job at a think tank because it pays TOO MUCH.... or would use too many hours in an individual's part-time work restrictions.

Do Math schollie students need risk a life time of injuries proving their formulas?   Some athletes have perminant injuries to limbs, or find out later concusions we are seeing a real increase in those as well.  There is no long-term healthcare solutions... hey you just took one for the team!

I HATE THE NCAA... ITS UNAMERICAN.   ~IT ADDS NO VALUE.  JUST KEEPS LAWYERS PAID.... AND THE SCHOOLS ARE ALL CULPABLE...

I AM NOT A UNION GUY BUT THREE CHEERS FOR NORTHWESTERN HOPE THEY ALL GET PAID A FAIR MARKET RATE FOR ALL THEIR EFFORTS!

 

 

 

+2 HS
Shangheyed's picture

Should have apologized in advance for the rant.... someone pushed my NCAA button!

+1 HS
Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

lol No worries. It's a contentious issue that incites emotion.

brandonbauer87's picture

As a condition of my employment, I agree to work only for my company in exchange for an agreed upon wage. In doing so, I forfeit the right to make wages for myself on the side. If I get caught working outside of my workplace, my employer would fire me. 

That all sounds pretty similar to a college athlete getting caught signing footballs. Call them employees if they insist, but I think they have a fair system to work within. 

+3 HS
Shangheyed's picture

So no garage sales for you, no Ebay, no selling of your home for added money?   I would wager you would still have your job if you sold your second hand guitar on Ebay...because the right to sell private property  is protected in the constitution as well re-afrimed by the Supreme Court so unless your company has exempt status like the Military or NCAA... your able to sell anything you own without your company having anything to say about it.

Does your industry collude together to insure that the dollar per hour or salary is 100 times lower than the market rate?   If you get injured on the job your company will help with workman's comp even if you are disabled (workers rights are protected through yrs of struggle... except in College Football, you take one for the team and keep taking one for the team for the rest of your life you can walk with a limp with No compensation).

There is really nothing similar to NCAA and College football anywhere in the United States.... and indeed sad to see you think this is fair, but most people who think they are owners(and fans do) like their cheap labor.   A kin to plantation sports.... its gotta change mate.

 

+1 HS
elitesmithie's picture

Blame the NFL for not hiring 18 yr old professionals. Quit trying to ruin amateur sports. There is a reason a lot of people like college overs pros. There is a sense of team/local/university pride similar to HS. Yea it maybe all in our mind but its there. 

+1 HS
CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

This is very interesting. The future will be set based on this case for a long time.
I just hope they figure out a way to have college football games again.