2. Of video games and publicity rights. Speaking of Doc Saturday and video games, he was one of the first that I saw to publicly censure the NCAA over its chintzy policy allowing game-makers like EA Sports to include things like "Florida QB #15," complete with all the relevant physical attributes, in its NCAA Football games without compensating the players in any way. The Louisville Courier-Journal's Eric Crawford joins the debate, with what I thought was a nice anecdote:
One of my favorites is an old version of EA Sports' NCAA Football. I like to be Michael Bush, because the former University of Louisville star, in this game, is Superman.
He can do anything. Bounce off tacklers. Run over them. Run through walls of defenders.
Almost every time I play, I think about that moment when Bush went down against Kentucky in the first game of his senior season. And it occurs to me that even while the real Bush was struggling pretty seriously with recovering from that broken leg, little cyber Michael, courtesy of EA Sports, just kept running.
And then there's this: While Bush's financial future was very much in doubt as he sweated his way back through rehabilitation, little cyber Mike kept drawing royalty checks for the NCAA, which has a rights deal with EA Sports.
Fortunately Bush's bounced back (think too of Willis McGahee's horrendous injury, or, say, Tyrone Prothro). One sticking point though with the analysis. Crawford repeats a supposed "problem" with paying players a licensing fee: what to do about the best players (i.e. most highly marketable) versus the bench-warmers? Crawford offers another solution: put the money paid into a trust that is there for players who graduate. I like that idea, and I also don't see why you have to grant the licensing fees based on who is the best player or not.
Sure, EA really just wants Reggie Bush or Tebow, not the benchwarmer on USC's or Florida's roster, but the NCAA, the Universities, and EA should just negotiate a flat fee for use of the whole roster (though giving some players an opt-out, which could create issues). The important point is that the players get something, not that Tebow or Bush gets more than their backup. Plus, if you do the trust idea contingent on graduation, then the player can actually help his teammate who might not have a pro-future when the all-star goes to the NFL: his money remains in the trust, thus enlarging the share for the others.
In any event, what makes this so bizarre is that if you used literally anyone else's likeness, besides an NCAA athlete, the company would have to pay. Yes, companies would be most likely to use a famous person, but it is not permissible to use a person's likeness or identity to promote some other product without their permission. The state of the law isn't quite uniform apparently, but
The Right of Publicity prevents the unauthorized commercial use of an individual's name, likeness, or other recognizable aspects of one's persona. It gives an individual the exclusive right to license the use of their identity for commercial promotion.
Unless of course you're an NCAA athlete.
3. Football Outsiders: Contrary to popular wisdom, Rex Ryan and the Baltimore Ravens "rush" four or fewer players 64% of the time. Yet they nevertheless rushed (i.e. blitzed) five or more "far more than the average team."
4. Trojan Football Analysis continues its wonderful series on Chip Kelly's Oregon rushing attack. The series: Chip Kelly's comments on his run game, inside zone, outside zone, fly sweep, counter, and video of the counter. (Also see this three part bit on a possible midline option or "mystery play" from Oregon: one, two, and three.) For a preview of what you'll find at TFA, check out the cutups of Oregon's offense below.
5. Why is there so much holding in football? It's an issue of the risk of having a penalty called on your holding versus what you have to gain (avoiding a sack, big run play, etc). Money quote: "The bottom line is that the probability of detection at which committing holding is worthwhile is when it is about 4/5 the chance a pass rusher will get a sack if he beats his blocker."
6. Blutarsky chimes in on Spurrier, in response to my recent post on the Ol' Ball Coach. Make sure to check it out due to the good comments (no, I'm not referring to my own).
7. You're watching inferior football and you don't even know it, says Residual Prolixity. Bonus: RP reviews The Pro Football Chronicle: The Complete (Well, Almost) Record of the Best Players, the Greatest Photos, the Hardest Hits, the Biggest Scandals & the Funniest Stories in Pro Football by Dan Daly and Bob O'Donnell.
8. Rollbamaroll reviews The Junction Boys.
9. Who are the most influential sports columnists? Dan Shanoff culls the list from Mediaite's new "power grid" feature.
10. Oldie but goodie: Roger Ebert ripping Jay Mariotti for quitting his job at the Chicago Sun-Times over getting passed over for a column idea.
11. Happy birthday to Mr. Orson Swindle of the Sporting Blog and Every Day Should Be Saturday. The internet does thank you. I started blogging before EDSBS, but without Orson and several others, I might not still be doing it. (Plus go buy the Gators Gridiron 2009, of which he was the editor and I a lowly contributor.)
12. Why aren't people complaining yet about inflated sports salaries?
13. Michael Lewis on AIG: Thank you, Joe Cassano.
14. Economic Principals: "Now We May Perhaps to Begin?"
15. A fitting end. How is it possible for a man to look perpetually uncomfortable yet still we want to hang out with him? So it goes with Mike Leach. (Ht Dawgsports.)