At the NCAA headquarters, the headache medication that sponsors the institution must be available in cereal bowls in the lunchroom.
It can’t be any fun working in the enforcement division at the NCAA. Something new comes up every day, and it is never not big news. Now it is dealing with prostitution, and they could not possibly have been prepared for that.
It has other problems that have cropped up this football season, so let’s look at all the ways it can’t be fun to work for the NCAA enforcement department:
Prostitution: It is not news that university athletic departments bend rules to attract the best talent to their schools for the purpose of playing a sport and perhaps, occasionally, going to class. But the information regarding the University of Louisville’s basketball program providing sex partners for recruits is unique in its audacity.
Schools have long provided attractive female co-eds as hostesses to these athletes, offering an indication of the type of girls these athletes would see and interact with once they made their college choice. But this story goes beyond that, with evidence that a representative of the Louisville basketball program provided professional escorts to offer entertainment and more at a recruitment event.
The problem with this story is that there is every reason to believe Louisville is not the first or only school going this far to attract athletic talent. My hope is that when the hammer comes down on Louisville, that officials there go the extra mile and name names at other schools, so that everyone who has ever stooped that low to recruit athletes has to stand up and take the heat.
Trademarks-College football players who develop frequently used phrases to describe themselves or their abilities are starting to trademark those few words for use when they can make some money off of them. Which is NOT while they are NCAA athletes.
The NCAA forbids players from making money off their athletic success when it is supported by an NCAA institution. But these athletes are purchasing legal ownership of the catch phrases colleges and students use to celebrate their athlete success. The best example is stellar Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, who has applied for five trademarks, including both “Zeke” and “Eze”, for use on merchandise down the road.
Both Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston trademarked phrases for themselves while they were in college. The NCAA cannot stop this practice, but they do pay close attention to any use of the trademarked phrases before the students become professionals. Manziel’s “Johnny Football” nickname caused all sorts of conflict between the player and the institutions prior to his leaving school for the pros.
Good deeds: This is where the NCAA really messed up, and quickly confessed. Leonard Fournette, the Louisiana State University running back who most certainly will win the Heisman Trophy this year, wanted to auction off his jersey to help flood victims in South Carolina after LSU defeated the SC Gamecocks in a game that was moved to Baton Rouge because South Carolina could not host an event due to the natural disaster.
LSU actually told Fournette he could not auction the jersey for fear of an NCAA violation, which it most certainly would have been. However, the NCAA contacted both the school and the athlete and told them they would approve it this one time.
Unfortunately, by doing the right thing, the NCAA set itself up for all sorts of legal issues. The NCAA has long stated that the names and likenesses of individual players have no value, which is why the NCAA and schools do not sell jerseys with names on them.
The NCAA has set a precedent to indicate that an individual player’s jersey has unique value, which will come back to bite it before you know it.
I’m sure the NCAA thought it had cleared itself when it allowed for athletes to get additional stipends beyond their scholarship money. But it continues to hold sway over the athletes and their individual rights and that fight will probably not be solved until it is solved completely.