By Ken Reed
The University of Michigan football team is getting $2.25 million to be featured in a “Hard Knocks”-like Amazon Prime Video documentary.
“We are proud to collaborate with Amazon Prime Video in documenting our University of Michigan student-athletes’ daily experiences and the lifelong lessons learned both on the football field and in the classroom,” said Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh last month when the series was announced.
“We welcome judgment! We embrace this opportunity to showcase our 2017 University of Michigan football team to a vast audience around the world.”
There likely will be very little “judgment” of the Michigan program as this will amount to nothing more than a PR puff piece. The contractual agreement gives Michigan the right to “review” the episodes and edit out “any depiction that would constitute an actionable defamation or false light depiction of the University, the Team or any University Individual” before the episodes go on the air. So, in essence, they are getting paid $2.25 million for a series that will be worth millions more in positive free publicity.
Meanwhile, while the school pulls in this bonus revenue, the players won’t see any of it. Despite being the stars of the Michigan football team and producing the actual on-the-field product, Michigan players won’t see any of the money from the Amazon documentary. Under the NCAA’s archaic amateurism rules, they will be stuck with tuition, food and a place to sleep in the dorm despite having market value much greater than that. Power Five conference schools can also provide athletes a cost-of-attendance stipend that’s been infamously dubbed “the pizza stipend,” because it can cover a couple pizzas a week.
Talk about a case of economic injustice. The inequities in big-time college sports continue to worsen, not improve.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
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.” We discuss overzealous adults in youth sports, the dangers of sport specialization, youth sports entrepreneurs and the profit-at-all-costs mindset, and the growing socio-economic gap in youth sports.
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Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
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.
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.
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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