The NCAA backlash has been gaining momentum and ESPN college football analyst Desmond Howard is the latest to speak out about the current state of collegiate athletics:
USA Today has Howard’s scathing comments:
“Any system that’s designed to utilize the likeness of anyone, and they can’t get a cent…is wicked, is exploitive and is bound to fail,” Howard said. “And that’s what we’re seeing right now. That’s why it is so off-balance. It’s going to get worse before it gets better. The road that they’re traveling is a road of failure and self-destruction. Because there’s no balance.”
Howard asked why players get zip from jersey sales and other commercial use of their images — while college football and basketball coaches pocket millions in salary and other goodies and school/conferences get billions for their TV, radio and other media rights.
“Coaches are making $2, 3, 4 million dollars. They get get radio deals, apparel deals, shoe deals. The universities are getting all this money. But the man at the bottom is in the same position where all you offer him is, possibly, an education. Possibly. That model now is outdated,” said the former Super Bowl MVP with the Green Bay Packers.
“You’re going to see everybody getting richer and richer. And you walk around and you can’t put gas in your car? You can’t even fly home to see your parents? But everybody on campus is wearing your jersey. Basketball teams travel around the country and play in these arenas that are filled to the rafters. And you think these kids should still be brainwashed by, ‘But you’re getting a good education.'”
In return for athletic scholarships and room and board, student-athletes sign away commercial rights to their images for life to their universities, he pointed out. If that’s the deal, then schools should also provide them with free education — for life.
“You’re making a deal with the Devil,” Howard warns. “But if you want to play the education game, then check this out. If they get my likeness for life, then they should be committed to my education for life. So if Mark Ingram 20 years from now, when they’re still selling his jerseys in Tuscaloosa, says ‘You know what? I want to get my Ph.D.’ Guess who should pay for that? They should be committed to his education for life. They’re still selling his jerseys.”
While I appreciate the former Heisman Trophy winner for speaking out, his comments will fall on deaf ears – the NCAA will continue to pimp student-athletes.