Three Schools Opt for Generic Jerseys
You may have noticed two announcements involving college sports in the past day or so. At first glance they may have seemed like two totally separate stories but we’re not that naïve anymore. We now know that college athletics is one giant web of interconnected actions predicated by the almighty dollar. The first announcement was that three schools have made the decision that from now on they won’t put players numbers on the football jersey’s they sell in school bookstores and merchandise shops. The three schools are Arizona, Northwestern and–what a shock–Texas A&M. Look at this for what it is, the first three holes in the dyke that will lead to a universal flood. The schools are taking this unprecedented action because they are worried that if they continue to sell jersey’s with specific jersey numbers, like Johnny Manziel’s number 2 at A&M, they will have to start paying the player a royalty. Something that NEVER dawned on them in the past 75 years.
Manziel did a lot more than just win a Heisman Trophy in College Station, he forced the discussion nationwide that schools need to stop using star players anyway they deemed fit, and making millions off of them, while the player in return only gets a chance for a degree. A&M made so many millions off of the success of Johnny Football that their eight year campaign to raise $400 million for an makeover on Kyle Field, took only two years. The same two years that Manziel played for A&M. Meanwhile Manziel had to miss the first half of the first game last season because the NCAA thought he might have made some money from selling his autograph. See the disconnect here? School makes $400 million and builds a state of the art facility, athlete is “accused” of making a few thousand dollars and gets suspended.
The second announcement was the University of Kentucky agreeing to give head basketball coach John Calipari a new 7-year $52.5 million dollar contract. The Wildcats made it to the Championship Game again this year and benefited so greatly from it, and the rest of the season, to keep Calapari happy and in Lexington, they’ll gladly pay him $7 million a season. The coaches, you see, as well as the athletic director and assistant coaches and trainer and video coordinator all get to make a very good living off of college athletics. The sky is the limit. Just don’t talk to the NCAA about any of the players, who actually got Calipari and Kentucky to the Final Four, receiving financial benefits. The adults make all the decisions and make all the money, all the kids do is play the games and determine the outcomes.
The fact that Calipari can make that kind of money, and Alabama football coach Nick Saban received another huge raise a week ago, will not go unnoticed by the people suing the NCAA on behalf of current and former players. Former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon is set to go to trail against the NCAA next week, challenging the NCAA’s use of his name and others on licensed video games that made millions while the players didn’t get a dime.
The times, they are a changing.