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 #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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