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 #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan in the year 2022.
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Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
Episode #20 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Coaching Youth and High School Sports Based On What’s Best for the Athlete’s Holistic Development – We chat with long-time youth, high school and college basketball coach Jim Huber.
Episode #19 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Capturing the Spirit of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League with Anika Orrock – We discuss the hoops AAGPFL women had to jump through to play the game they loved as well as the long-term impact and legacy they have in advancing sports opportunities for girls and women.
Episode #18 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking about the 50th Anniversary of Title IX and the Lia Thomas Controversy with Nancy Hogshead-Makar – Hogshead-Makar is a triple gold medalist in swimming, a civil rights attorney and CEO of Champion Women.
Episode #17 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports With Legendary New York Times Sports Columnist Robert Lipsyte – We chat about Lipsyte’s amazing career and some of the athletes he covered.
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.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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