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Thread: NCAA & Monetizing a Name/Image/Likeness

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  1. #1
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    Default NCAA & Monetizing a Name/Image/Likeness

    As most of the folks on the board probably are at least vaguely aware, the NCAA nationally is under some pressure from some politicians/press/pundits/players to allow NCAA student athletes to compete in college while simultaneously receiving payment for licensing the use of their names, images, or likeness to companies such as video game makers, t-shirt sellers, poster companies, etc.

    Like most of the modern culture war type issues, it seems like both sides retreat to their corners and shout rhetoric that doesn't even seem to be speaking the same language. Mark Few recently was interviewed by Jeff Goodman and Few's 3 minute long answer included a few phrases that went "viral" online as he criticized the California state governor Gavin Newsom for making this a pet political issue since it polled well and Newsom has national aspirations.

    I'm curious if anyone else agrees with my thoughts on the issue, which is one I hadn't thought much about until Monday.

    1. Adults should be able to make mutually-voluntary consenting arrangements between and among each other. If you are 18+, you're an adult. If you choose to play in any league exclusively as an unpaid amateur, you are not being "exploited" or victimized. You are free to stop the entire arrangement at any time, in order to pursue anything else, including paying professionally in a for-profit league abroad (during year 1) or the NBA (any time after year 1).

    2. Only a tiny fraction of D-1 sports programs even produce enough revenue to cover their own costs. The number of student athletes in a given year who could realistically make money selling companies the rights to their name or image is very small. There would be an enormous concentration of these players at the already most powerful and prosperous mens basketball and football teams. Even if a video game maker paid every (or most) NCAA players a tiny amount each year, the amount paid to the Zion/Rui/Baker Mayfield types would be a 1000x greater. Elite recruits would factor in a school's network connections for monetizing their images before deciding where to go. In short, this would further concentrate elite talent among the top programs with wealthy boosters and business connections. You'd see recruits each promised a marketing "package" that would purchase the rights to his NIL for each year in the NCAA, so there'd be a de-facto auction over which teams could pay their stars the most.


    3. The situation of monetizable/marketable athletes being "trapped" in amateur status before they go to the NFL or NBA is already being solved by players choosing to go overseas for the 1 required season pre NBA, and by the NBA and G-league potentially soon allowing 18yr old high school seniors to do a year in the NBA "minors" while getting paid. See RJ Hampton or Lamello ball for recent star players who said no to the NCAA and got paid immediately out of high school. This option is easier and more lucrative than ever. (There's really not a market to sell name/image of other athletes and sports outside mens basketball and football). I don't know enough about football and the NFL and foreign football leagues to know what options and markets exist for elite high school footballers who want to skip the NCAA and get paid immediately.

    4. I understand why the NCAA has been reluctant to address this. Why would they be eager to? The age restrictions placed on participation by the NBA (1 yr) and NFL (3 yrs) have made the NCAA nearly the only game in town for elite high schoolers. That's not longer the case, and even when it was, it didn't mean college players were being "exploited." The rise of foreign leagues and the social media fame of younger players may force the NCAA's hand and compel them to reach a compromise or suffer more RJ Hampton defections. Consequently, this is a non-issue unworthy of the virtuous hand-wringing it receives. It should be allowed to resolve itself and any top down political mandates will be primarily in the service of the specific politicians and the powerful school programs which know they'd benefit from new rules.


    My final thought is that much of the rhetoric around this issue ignores the enormous value added to the lifetime earnings of these players via their unpaid attendance at major sports schools. An intern or an apprentice might be unpaid, but they understand the value in learning from elite practitioners of a craft. Look at Domantas Sabonis or Rui Hachimura for examples. Either could have gotten paid at age 16 or 17 or 18 by playing basketball in any number of leagues outside the NBA, which don't have an age limit. This would have prevented them from learning and improving their marketable skills by the world class staff at GU - a tradeoff they chose not to make. Is it my place to say they opted for "exploitation"? Domas WAS playing in Europe and chose to forgo the default salary and be unpaid in order to maintain his amateur status. I'm sure he did that with the guidance of his father and other basketball gurus and smart folks who knew it was in his lifetime earning interest. He sufficiently valued the opportunity to play unpaid at GU or a similar basketball NCAA program that he chose to not be paid when he could have. So was he "paid" by Gonzaga? or "exploited" by Gonzaga? Clearly his lifetime earning potential, his marketable skillset, his network of NBA mentors, and his reputation were all massively improved by 2 years "unpaid" at GU.
    Last edited by LTownZag; 10-09-2019 at 12:11 PM.

  2. #2
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    FYI there is an interesting discussion on ssf about Few's interview more specifically which also addresses some of the points in this thread

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by LTownZag View Post
    As most of the folks on the board probably are at least vaguely aware, the NCAA nationally is under some pressure from some politicians/press/pundits/players to allow NCAA student athletes to compete in college while simultaneously receiving payment for licensing the use of their names, images, or likeness to companies such as video game makers, t-shirt sellers, poster companies, etc.

    Like most of the modern culture war type issues, it seems like both sides retreat to their corners and shout rhetoric that doesn't even seem to be speaking the same language. Mark Few recently was interviewed by Jeff Goodman and Few's 3 minute long answer included a few phrases that went "viral" online as he criticized the California state governor Gavin Newsom for making this a pet political issue since it polled well and Newsom has national aspirations.

    I'm curious if anyone else agrees with my thoughts on the issue, which is one I hadn't thought much about until Monday.

    1. Adults should be able to make mutually-voluntary consenting arrangements between and among each other. If you are 18+, you're an adult. If you choose to play in any league exclusively as an unpaid amateur, you are not being "exploited" or victimized. You are free to stop the entire arrangement at any time, in order to pursue anything else, including paying professionally in a for-profit league abroad (during year 1) or the NBA (any time after year 1).

    2. Only a tiny fraction of D-1 sports programs even produce enough revenue to cover their own costs. The number of student athletes in a given year who could realistically make money selling companies the rights to their name or image is very small. There would be an enormous concentration of these players at the already most powerful and prosperous mens basketball and football teams. Even if a video game maker paid every (or most) NCAA players a tiny amount each year, the amount paid to the Zion/Rui/Baker Mayfield types would be a 1000x greater. Elite recruits would factor in a school's network connections for monetizing their images before deciding where to go. In short, this would further concentrate elite talent among the top programs with wealthy boosters and business connections. You'd see recruits each promised a marketing "package" that would purchase the rights to his NIL for each year in the NCAA, so there'd be a de-facto auction over which teams could pay their stars the most.


    3. The situation of monetizable/marketable athletes being "trapped" in amateur status before they go to the NFL or NBA is already being solved by players choosing to go overseas for the 1 required season pre NBA, and by the NBA and G-league potentially soon allowing 18yr old high school seniors to do a year in the NBA "minors" while getting paid. See RJ Hampton or Lamello ball for recent star players who said no to the NCAA and got paid immediately out of high school. This option is easier and more lucrative than ever. (There's really not a market to sell name/image of other athletes and sports outside mens basketball and football). I don't know enough about football and the NFL and foreign football leagues to know what options and markets exist for elite high school footballers who want to skip the NCAA and get paid immediately.

    4. I understand why the NCAA has been reluctant to address this. Why would they be eager to? The age restrictions placed on participation by the NBA (1 yr) and NFL (3 yrs) have made the NCAA nearly the only game in town for elite high schoolers. That's not longer the case, and even when it was, it didn't mean college players were being "exploited." The rise of foreign leagues and the social media fame of younger players may force the NCAA's hand and compel them to reach a compromise or suffer more RJ Hampton defections. Consequently, this is a non-issue unworthy of the virtuous hand-wringing it receives. It should be allowed to resolve itself and any top down political mandates will be primarily in the service of the specific politicians and the powerful school programs which know they'd benefit from new rules.


    My final thought is that much of the rhetoric around this issue ignores the enormous value added to the lifetime earnings of these players via their unpaid attendance at major sports schools. An intern or an apprentice might be unpaid, but they understand the value in learning from elite practitioners of a craft. Look at Domantas Sabonis or Rui Hachimura for examples. Either could have gotten paid at age 16 or 17 or 18 by playing basketball in any number of leagues outside the NBA, which don't have an age limit. Domas WAS playing in Europe and chose to forgo the default salary and be unpaid in order to maintain his amateur status. I'm sure he did that with the guidance of his father and other basketball gurus and smart folks who knew it was in his lifetime earning interest. He sufficiently valued the opportunity to play unpaid at GU or a similar basketball NCAA program that he chose to not be paid when he could have. So was he "paid" by Gonzaga? or "exploited" by Gonzaga? Clearly his lifetime earning potential, his marketable skillset, his network of NBA mentors, and his reputation were all massively improved by 2 years "unpaid" at GU.
    I agree 100% with every point you make. The number of people currently benefitting from this system far outnumbers the few who feel they are being exploited. None of them are forced into this. They also receive benefits far greater than just tuition. They have excellent coaching, trainers, facilities, gear, and at the big schools better dorms and food than any of the general students could get. Plus the exposure of playing in college can get them serious endorsement money when they do turn pro.

  4. #4
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    Thoughtful and good post LTown. Generally, I do not have an issue with student-athletes being able to make income off of their NIL but the mechanics of it really need to be fleshed out and adopted throughout the NCAA. While i can see the argument many make that at least this state legislation could at least spur the NCAA to act, the result and discrepancies in the interim could result in a lot of mayhem or bad/awful/bizarre results for certain schools and the NCAA in general - this is particularly true if states have different requirements (as they often do) and if certain states "race to the bottom" by giving athletes the most rights off their NIL (similar to Delaware with their favorable corporate laws). As someone who compares state statutory requirements often, I'd be shocked if they were uniform especially considering states are pushing them through. I could be wrong and would be happy to be proved otherwise, but even the proposed effective dates of these laws differ.

    I think this was one of the points Coach Few was getting to - that he is ok with NIL compensation but it should be handled appropriately and not by individual states/politicians. Unfortunately, I feel like how he got to his position at the end of the clip and how it went viral is unfortunate. I don't REALLY think it'll make a large impact on recruiting or his/GU's image as some talking heads suggest, but I do wish he conveyed his point in a different manner.

    Ultimately, my impression is that this can/will cause a lot of headaches for states, schools, athletes, and the NCAA for something that impacts a VERY small amount of student athletes.

  5. #5
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    Spokesman Review article on Few's comments pertaining to the new California Law:

    https://www.spokesman.com/stories/20...prompt-strong/

    “What I find totally disappointing and just disgusting is that a governor is wasting his time grandstanding around in something that he really doesn’t understand when .00001 percent of his constituents are going to be impacted by this,” Few said. “He should probably stay in his lane, like I tell my players, figure out homelessness and I think he has a state that borders Mexico and get that mess figured out. And the budget, and some things like that.”

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by johno View Post
    Spokesman Review article on Few's comments pertaining to the new California Law:

    https://www.spokesman.com/stories/20...prompt-strong/

    “What I find totally disappointing and just disgusting is that a governor is wasting his time grandstanding around in something that he really doesn’t understand when .00001 percent of his constituents are going to be impacted by this,” Few said. “He should probably stay in his lane, like I tell my players, figure out homelessness and I think he has a state that borders Mexico and get that mess figured out. And the budget, and some things like that.”

    I am 110% on board with Few's comments. He is not against athletes getting to enjoy some monetary benefits but unless this handled carefully, all the "big boys" like Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, etc. will have an even greater pull for recruits.

    I am grateful that Few is willing to say the "emperor has no clothes". I think the Calif. governor should concentrate on cleaning up his streets and state before he continues to expand the "nanny state" to include athletics.

  7. #7
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    See this thread in "General Basketball" for additional discussion:

    http://guboards.spokesmanreview.com/...y-defying-NCAA

  8. #8
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    Few made comments about the governor but then agreed athletes should be paid based on likeness. His point was that the CA Legislature should let the NCAA and people in the industry regulate themselves. Typically a fine argument that I agree with. But the NCAA has that opportunity via the CA Legislation because it doesn't apply for a few years. They have time to set parameters and rules. The CA law is the catalyst for that. Without the new CA law and it's effective date this issue would be slow rolled and dragged out well beyond the effective date, maintaining the status quo longer than reasonable.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by CPkZagFan View Post
    I am 110% on board with Few's comments. He is not against athletes getting to enjoy some monetary benefits but unless this handled carefully, all the "big boys" like Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, etc. will have an even greater pull for recruits.

    I am grateful that Few is willing to say the "emperor has no clothes". I think the Calif. governor should concentrate on cleaning up his streets and state before he continues to expand the "nanny state" to include athletics.
    + 100,000,000

  10. #10
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    What I didn’t ubnderstand, now granted I am not an attorney but did stay at a holiday inn once, is alll the talk about kids being able sign their jerseys etc to make money

    Isn’t most if not all universities name and logo trademarked..therefore without the school permission making profit off as school owned product would be illegal?

    And if the university says ok are they not contributing something of value outside the IRS guidelines of non taxable items while going to school (tuition and books)

    And if a university says ok, how much is the name on the jersey valued versus signature of a player?

    And the irs tax implications on pell grants etc will all have to be adjusted and taken into consideration and will this have a negative impact on scholarship/grant funding opportunities for some of the student athletes thus either driving up their need for contribution or driving up cost of money by the university?


    For me if they are going downt his route, then the players who are getting added benefits above and beyond all other student athletes should pay for those services.....flights down to trainers and tutors

    I read that the average university pays over 94,000 per D1 student in football and basketball yet only pays 13,000 towards all others. Seems to me if going to allow them to become semi pro that those costs should be borne by the individuals who now have become semi pro
    Basketball...The Toy Department of Life

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by johno View Post
    Spokesman Review article on Few's comments pertaining to the new California Law:

    https://www.spokesman.com/stories/20...prompt-strong/

    “What I find totally disappointing and just disgusting is that a governor is wasting his time grandstanding around in something that he really doesn’t understand when .00001 percent of his constituents are going to be impacted by this,” Few said. “He should probably stay in his lane, like I tell my players, figure out homelessness and I think he has a state that borders Mexico and get that mess figured out. And the budget, and some things like that.”
    as a california resident...I couldn't agree more with Coach Few....love the stay in his lane comment.

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