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 #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
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Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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.
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