Meanwhile, College Athletes Struggle to Gain Rights to Their Own Names, Images and Likenesses (NILs)
By Ken Reed
The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament (aka March Madness) has been a smashing entertainment success to date. The games have truly been Mad. Double digit seeds advancing, great finishes, amazing plays! The joy of victory and the agony of defeat. It’s got it all.
Well, who’s creating this supreme product? The athletes, whose all-out effort has been nothing short of inspiring. Yes, coaches are part of the product on the court, but it’s the athletes who are giving us their blood, sweat and tears (literally).
CBS and Turner will pull in more than $1 billion in TV ad revenue this tourney. The NCAA and the various schools and conferences will get huge pay days. Meanwhile, the players get boxed lunches and some swag bags.
The latest example of the commercialization of college sports comes from the Michigan State Spartans, who were eliminated in the First Four play-in round of the NCAA tourney. The Michigan State athletic department announced a five-year sponsorship with Rocket Mortgage. The sponsorship means the basketball team will now be known as the “MSU Spartans Presented by Rocket Mortgage.”
How cute. However, the players on the “MSU Spartans Presented by Rocket Mortgage” are still prevented from profiting from benign activities such as signing calendars at the local sporting goods store for two hours.
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., isn’t amused. Murphy introduced legislation in February that would allow college athletes to make money from their NILs.
“This (the new MSU sponsorship) is not a joke. I thought it was, but it’s not,” tweeted Murphy.
“The corruption of college sports is vomit inducing. Coaches can sign million dollar endorsement deals. College teams are now NAMED AFTER CORPORATIONS. But god forbid we pay the athletes a dime. Because they’re ‘amateurs.’”
Here’s hoping Murphy’s legislation is successful.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
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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.
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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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