A Rose by Any other Name: The Case of Todd Gurley and the NCAA’s flagrant hypocrisy

Terrelle Pryor. Devier Posey. Cam Newton. Johnny Manziel. These players, and scores of others have been penalized by the NCAA for attempting to gain monetary profit by using their name and likeness to sign memorabilia and other items. You can now add University of Georgia star running back Todd Gurley to this list. This past week Gurley was suspended indefinitely by the University for signing gurleymemorabilia including more than 500 items which included  jerseys, mini-helmets, photos, gloves , and cleats which is a violation of the NCAA’s amateurism rules. The rules state that as a student athlete they are to accept no compensation in any shape, form or fashion that stems from their athletic prowess. The rule states that their athletic scholarship provides a free education that serves as sufficient payment.

That is wrong on so many levels. These young men and their talents make billions of dollars for their respective institutions, their sports conferences and the NCAA. Just this year alone the Southeastern Conference, one of the elite conferences in college athletics, announced a deal with ESPN to start their own TV network: the SEC Network. This deal will pay the conference about 2.25 billion dollars over the life of the agreement.  In 2010, the pryorNCAA reached a 14-year, $11 billion agreement with CBS and Turner Sports for the TV rights to broadcast the NCAA basketball tournament. The University of Georgia, who Todd Gurley plays for, made nearly $80 million dollars in profit from its football season.

A large portion of that revenue stream comes from the sale of memorabilia. These institutions fill their athletic stores and websites with copious amounts of jerseys, pictures, t-shirts, trading cards and other items that sell for hundreds of dollars. These items bear the likenesses, and images of athletes who are not allowed to make one cent from these sales. That is a blatant and egregious hypocrisy. The NCAA and these universities can sell items bearing these players images and likeness but do not pay the players because it would be a violation of the amateurism rules. That is flat out preposterous. Todd Gurley did the same thing these bigger entities are doing. winstondd Being unapologetic entrepreneurs. These entities are in the business of making money, why can’t he be?  Jere W. Morehead, the president of the University of Georgia, isn’t out on the field everyday risking his health, Todd Gurley is. But Todd Gurley does not make one red cent. If Todd Gurley can’t earn income off of his own image and likeness NOBODY should be able to.  Let’s face it, college athletics is a full time job. So why can’t players be paid for doing a job that provides these universities and other groups billions of dollars?

When you work for someone you get compensated. It’s called a job. When you do work and you aren’t compensated it’s called indentured servitude or slavery. And the argument that a scholarship is payment enough is flat out false.  If the cost of the scholarship and profit that is made from a student athlete is equal that argument would have merit. But it clearly doesn’t. Todd Gurley’s scholarship over 4 years from the University of Georgia is worth $92,328 dollars.  As mentioned above the amount of profit the university makes off these players is much more than that.

It’s time the NCAA’s archaic rules on amateurism be abolished. ALL college athletes should be paid for sacrificing their time, giving relentless effort and risking their well-being for these big entities.  I propose that the NCAA adopt a pay scale that would pay the sports that bring in the most revenue the most and trickle down from there.  For example, all 85 scholarship players should be paid a total of 5 thousand dollars during their season, the 15 men’s basketball players 4 thousand dollars, and so on. The money used to pay players can come from a combination of athletic boosters, donations, the revenue earned by the universities from athletics, and the schools’ endowment.

My question to anyone who opposes these young me and women being compensated:  If you were the person whose God given talents and abilities were being taken advantage of and you were making others inordinate amounts of dollars and you could not profit off of it. Would you think it was ok?


Alexander Goodwin


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