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Sunday Morning Hangover: Endorsement Deals for College Athletes

Before you answer, hear me out.

Derrick Henry can make a little side money now that he is out of college eligibility.
The Heisman House

It happens every year. We can’t get through a college football season without the the media shaking the cages and riling everybody up on some off-the-field issue. Many of these reporters are just desperate for clicks because they have a payment on their beach houses coming up. Often times, they try to portray themselves as the champions of the players so they can get that next favorable interview. Me, I get paid in Wendy’s coupons and dandelion moonshine, so I have no agenda other than a want to express my opinion.

Today’s subject is not about pay-for-play. That is a Pandora’s box that would unleash a world of whining and screeching of unbearable levels that would destroy the sport we love so dearly. Below is a dramatization of what it might look like:

But back to the subject at hand: Endorsement deals for college athletes.

According to the NCAA’s amateur certification, student-athletes may not receive payment for their performance, employ a recruiting agency or scouting service, receive funds to offset training costs, or endorse a commercial product. Personally, I agree with all of the above statutes except the last one, but with a few caveats:

  • No mention of the university, stadium, team mascot, or any trademarked material may be stated or posted on the promotion. Instead of “Hi, I am Ben Davis of the Alabama Crimson Tide”, it would have to be, “Hi, I am Ben Davis”.
  • Athlete may not wear licensed merchandise or school logos during a shoot - even with the school’s permission. If the subject wants to look stupid in a knockoff jersey, more power to him/her.
  • Photography shall not be allowed on campus and no likenesses of university landmarks (i.e. stadiums, Denny Chimes, Touchdown Jesus, etc.) may be used in the promotions.
  • No endorsements of alcohol, firearms, tobacco, or vaping related products.
  • All participants must be 18 years and older.
  • No talent or PR agents or anyone else who might financially profit the promotion, outside of a capped flat-rate lawyer to approve a contract.
  • Athlete can only be paid in money, meaning no swag or products (clothes, watches, cars, lifetime supply of Yoo-hoo, etc.).
  • No compensation for public consumption or use of products.
  • No walking billboards. In other words, no wearing an Aflac label on clothing, etc.
  • Promoting a products on personal social media account should be acceptable.
  • Universities cannot broker or arrange any potential endorsement deals.

It feels like some sort of compensation for college athletes is inevitable. If it does, it should not be at the expense of the universities. Nor should it give the sports programs an unfair advantage.

There is no easy answer for this issue and every avenue of any kind of compensation outside all that a college scholarship entails it is a greased down Lombard Street covered ion marbles.

Did I miss anything? Disagree with anything or everything mentioned above? Let’s hear it.