Robert Charette laments that Alabama QB AJ McCarron cannot be paid for his services, while his girlfriend Katherine Webb is getting paid for being his girlfriend. Errr, that didn’t come out right. Let me try again. Webb is a former Miss Alabama and the girlfriend of Bama QB AJ McCarron. Due partly to being Miss Alabama but mostly to being McCarron’s girlfriend when Bama was playing for the championship, Webb has gotten all sorts of endorsement deals. Endorsement deals that McCarron himself cannot take due to NCAA violations.

Which sounds ridiculous when you think about it that way. Why should Webb be allowed to profit off Bama football (indirectly) while McCarron can’t? While it’s true that Webb is only making (most of) the money she is because of her indirect association with Alabama football, we only know who AJ McCarron is because of same. Webb and McCarron both became known due to Alabama football.

Quick, who was the winner of the World League of American Football’s MVP award in 1991? Stan Gelbaugh. That same year, Desmond Howard won the Heisman. Gelbaugh was almost certainly the better player between the two. But no one really cares because he played for the London Monarchs in the WLAF while Howard played for Michigan in the NCAA. McCarron could be the best player of all time for a minor league Tuscaloosa Talons teams and would get no more attention than Stan Gelbaugh of the Monarchs. He’d get less attention, actually, because at least the WLAF had a TV deal.

Now, if Webb and McCarron both became known due to Alabama athletics, you could argue that McCarron should be able to get the same sort of endorsement deals that Webb does. My primary objection to such is that it would be rife with corruption. More corruption than we are presently seeing. But as a matter of fairness, we should point out that McCarron is getting a college education and 100,000 screaming fans week in and week out, while Webb is getting a few ads on TV. And as soon as he graduates, McCarron will be able to get TV ads, too, even if he doesn’t make it to the NFL.

Of course, some players have just found out that they are getting a bona fide check:

The case, which began more than four years ago, is focused on the rights of colleges athletes, how their likenesses are used — particularly in video games and broadcasts — and whether they should be paid.

The settlement by the other parties, if approved by the judge, indicates that the N.C.A.A. will probably be alone in defending itself.

“We have asked for, but have not yet received, the terms” of the settlement, said Donald Remy, the N.C.A.A.’s chief legal officer, “so we cannot comment further.”

Michael Hausfeld, a lawyer for the athletes, declined to discuss the settlement terms but said it would not be an “unreasonable inference” to conclude that the student-athletes might now have the support of E.A. Sports and the Collegiate Licensing Company, which handles rights licensing for many universities.

Hausfeld also said he did not believe the settlement “changes the mind-set of the N.C.A.A.”

Payout is likely to be minimal on a per-player basis. The important part is that they are more likely to get cooperation, and unlikely to get opposition, from EA Sports in their big lawsuit against the NCAA.

EA Sports screwed up and there is documentation that even the NCAA athletic directors were uncomfortable with what they were doing. EA Sports will no longer be doing an NCAA Football game. I can’t imagine that there would be no game at all going forward, but it may be the case that they go a few years without while everybody figures out what they can and cannot do.

The “pay the players” movement has been gaining steam in recent months. It was starting to sound like the big name college programs themselves were in favor of it. Which actually made sense because they can afford it and if they can drive up costs enough to bankrupt the lesser programs, they can make a killing by instituting a real playoff without the controversy of Boise States and such. I’m not sure what happened, though, but something changed.

The players themselves have started All Players United, which is geared towards a vague set of goals that would ideally (for them) include compensation. I have my reservations about that, though it’s hard to argue against some of the other things.

Category: Theater

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