by Ken Reed
The new four-team College Football Playoff (CFP) is designed to determine the ultimate winner in college football, the national champion if you will.
But the real winners are the corporations, the Nikes and ESPNs of the world, along with the colleges in the power five conferences. The losers? The players who produce this football spectacle. Their compensation will be capped at tuition, room and board.
Meanwhile, Nick Saban is pulling in $7 million a year as a college football coach. But I digress …
Let’s get back to Nike.
The shoe and apparel giant will get to use the 300+ players involved from the four playoff teams — Alabama, Oregon, Ohio State and Florida State — as free models for their new uniform designs. A little more than a week ago, Nike unveiled special playoff uniforms for each team. The players will wear (read: sell) — with no compensation to do so — new Nike Mach Speed uniforms, with special design enhancements. They also will be outfitted in Nike’s new base layers, cleats and gloves. This marketing tactic, during heavily-watched nationally-televised games, will ultimately net Nike millions of dollars in revenue.
The school’s athletic departments will continue to benefit too. But even before these four teams were selected for the playoff, they were already rolling in Nike dough. Nike’s deal with Florida State is worth $4.4 million this year, Ohio State’s $4.2 million, Alabama’s $3.6 million and Oregon’s $3 million.
Back to the players. The total cost of Nike’s endorsement deals with the players involved in this year’s CFP = $0.
On another front, ESPN is paying approximately $500 million a year to televise the CFP. The amount of that money that trickles down to the players? You got it, $0.
The names, images and likenesses of the players continue to be used with no compensation going to the players.
The four-team playoff has taken the exploitation of college athletes to a whole new level.
The CFP is more of the same, just ramped up.
Where’s the justice in this system?
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #31 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Foul Ball Safety Is Still an Important Issue at Ballparks – Our guests are Jordan Skopp, founder of FoulBallSafety.com and Greg Wilkowski, a Chicago based attorney. We discuss the historical problem of foul balls injuring fans, why some teams are still hesitant to put up protective netting in some minor league and college baseball parks, and the fact the vast majority of players are for more protective netting in stadiums.
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Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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