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 #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
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.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
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.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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