2. College Football Playoff Act of 2009, H.R. 390. University of Illinois law professor Christine Hurt (an alumna of Texas Tech and U. of Texas), writing on the legal blog the Conglomerate. Her post, reprinted in full:
In reading all the legislation during the 110th and 111th Congress that contain the word "windfall," (everybody needs a hobby) this definitely wins in the surprise category.
The College Football Playoff Act of 2009 was introduced by Joe Barton (TX), and it has been referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Now, before you start to wonder where Congress gets the power to redesign NCAA football, note how the legislation works. "A bill to prohibit, as an unfair and deceptive act or practice, the promotion, marketing, and advertising of any post-season NCAA Division I Football game as a national championship game unless such game is the culmination of a fair and equitable playoff system."
Hmmm. Next we have the MLB change the name of the World Series unless they actually invite other countries to participate.
So, where does windfall fit in here? In the findings, of course:Congress finds that. . . the colleges and universities whose teams participate in the post-season football bowls experience significant financial windfall including increased applications for enrollment, recruiting advantages, increased alumni donations, and increased corporate sponsorship that provides s competitive advantage over universities whose teams are ineligible or statistically at a disadvantage from the BCS bowl competitions because of their conference affiliation.
Well, I'll let you quibble with this silliness, but this legislation, even if it passed (which it won't), wouldn't make the NCAA create a playoff. The BCS championship bowl would just have a different name. And it doesn't matter because Texas Tech isn't ever going to make it to the bowl no matter what the name is. You could call it "Bob" or even the "Texas Tech Red Raider Champions of the World Bowl," and Texas Tech would still never make it all the way. OK, that was an aside.
3. SEC media day. Just follow @edsbs on twitter. Thank me later.
4. ESPN will now let its reporters talk about the Ben Roethlisberger case.
5. Michael Vick, underrated? Brian Burke on the NY Times Fifth Down Blog.
6. The Senator asks: How far can the spread, spread? Good stuff, well worth it.
7. More from the NY Times on the O'Bannon vs. NCAA infringment case:
O’Bannon left U.C.L.A. in 1995. Does the N.C.A.A. have the right to continue to make money off O’Bannon and his teammates without compensation?
“Is that part of what an athlete’s grant-in-aid is about?” asked Richard M. Southall, the director of the College Sport Research Institute at the University of North Carolina. “You’ve left the plantation and now 15 years later you have a wife and children and the plantation still owns you, no matter what.”
College merchandise licensing is a $4-billion-a-year industry, and the N.C.A.A. has cornered the market. An N.C.A.A. business partner, Thought Equity Motion, has called the N.C.A.A.’s video content archive “one of the most unique and valuable content collections in the world.” . . .
The N.C.A.A. has had a sweetheart deal for years — using players’ likenesses, selling jerseys with popular players’ numbers and using athletes as uncompensated on-campus entertainment. Of course, athletes and their parents have had their own sweetheart deal, choosing colleges for sports and not for an academic fit.
There is not a lot of sympathy these days for athletes’ woes — at any level. The perception is that scholarship athletes and their families receive a pretty good deal. Yes, the hours are long and daily practices make this a rigorous part-time job.
“The general thinking among the public is that, ‘It could be a heck of a lot worse — you should be just be thankful for what the school has given you,’ ” Southall said. If that means eternal rights to your image, then so be it.
And the public does not care.
Just wait. Come September, college football stadiums from Harvard to Southern California will be filled with fans. Fans do not worry about steroids or licensing issues; they just want to be entertained.
O’Bannon’s case and the others raise an old but still unanswered question: Who protects the college athlete? In the N.F.L., a players association protects players against owners. In major league baseball and the N.B.A., unions look after the players’ interests.
Not so in college.
The N.C.A.A. describes itself as “the organization through which colleges and universities of the nation speak on athletics at the national level.” The N.C.A.A. tries to act as mother, father and paternalistic overseer who supposedly knows what’s best for the young athlete.
But don’t count on it.
Every year, beginning in their freshman season, scholarship athletes are compelled to sign mountains of forms.
How many athletes or parents or guardians read the forms? How many challenge the athletic department? College administrators and coaches pay lip service to “educating the kids,” but how many insist that their new recruits know exactly what they are signing?
More to the point, how many recruits — and parents of recruits — have the nerve to tell Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski or Tennessee’s Pat Summit that, based on a lawyer’s advice, they are not signing anything granting a release of their image.
All involved usually are too filled with gratitude and ego to consider reading between the lines.
“Until someone says something, stuff can go on,” Southall said. “Nobody wants to be the athlete who’s blackballed. Nobody wants to be the test case that’s thrown out.”
Ed O’Bannon wishes he had raised the question and resisted 15 years ago. Perhaps as a result of his suit, future athletes won’t have to.
Again, I think even if the NCAA loses they will just get the players to sign a waiver of their rights as a condition of getting the scholarship.