In this, the second year of the newest reincarnation of the college football scene in America, things are looking good.
From a business standpoint, attention to college football is at an all-time high. The athletes themselves are now benefitting from a new NCAA rule allowing them to receive a small stipend to pay for the expenses all college students have, which is a good change.
Of course, the National Labor Relations Board denied college athletes the opportunity to unionize, but many insiders have recognized that college football players provide a unique workforce that must be dealt with properly.
Star players are taking matters of their value into their own hands these days. Many college football stars are legally acquiring trademark rights to their names, their nicknames, and any catch phrases describing their athletic skills and performances.
These trademark deals will not benefit the athletes immediately, but will set them up for financial rewards once they are no longer under the yoke of the NCAA.
According to a recent Associated Press story, Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott has applied for five trademarks, including the rights to his nicknames |Zeke” and “Eze”. He has also applied for the trademark to a restaurant name “Zeke’s Crop Top Bar and Grill”, referencing his preferred way he wears his jersey rolled up.
Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott, a leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy this year, has applied for a trademark on “Dak Attack” and “Who Dak’’, which are phrases Mississippi State fans have started on his behalf.
Trademarking among professional athletes is frequent, especially when a player becomes a standout performer. But college athletes are protecting themselves from a private citizen trademarking a phrase or nickname to celebrate their performances, which is perfectly legal but seems likely stealing from an athlete that legally cannot benefit from their own skills while in school.
"They are becoming these public personas at these universities, and why not capitalize on that?" said Matthew Sawyers, CEO of the Trademark Company, which helped Elliott submit his trademark applications, to the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, the NCAA this week argued what to do about college athletes participating in fantasy football leagues. The NCAA wants such behavior to be considered gambling, and wants athletes to lose eligibility for participating.
The NCAA’s bylaws state that illegal wagers is “putting something at risk (i.e. money, entry fee or tangible item) for the opportunity to win something” and that would cover both regular season-long fantasy sports as well as daily fantasy, which is the new hot gaming opportunity in America.
Major League Baseball prohibits its players from participating in fantasy leagues related solely to their own game. But all professional leagues have lucrative relationships with at least one of the two major daily fantasy sports entities, FanDuel and Draft Kings.
There are fantasy sports games that involve college football outcomes as well, and many college athletic representatives have asked the sports leagues to stop using college games for their own games.
The NCAA this week discussed rewriting their bylaws to better handle their concern over athletes behaving like every other student on campus when it comes to fantasy sports play.