- Unbeliebable: White House turns Bieber petition response into immigration screed
- Obama signs law denying Iran ambassador’s visa, but says law is ‘advisory’
- Mich. judge to laughing convicted killer: ‘I hope you die in prison’
- Man charged in Kansas City-area highway shootings
- Keystone XL pipeline still on hold after State Dept. decision
- Fla. man charged with killing 16-month-old son to play Xbox undisturbed
- Drones from the deep: Pentagon develops ocean-floor attack robots
- Michigan mayor slaps back atheists’ try to erect ‘reason station’ at city hall
- PHILLIPS: Where is the conservative establishment?
- 7.5-magnitude earthquake shakes southern Mexico
FENNO: NCAA paying the price for latest Bush-league move
Until late last week, $179.95 bought an “officially licensed” autographed photo of Reggie Bush from the online bazaar slathered with NCAA logos.
Yes, that Reggie Bush.
The same former Southern California running back the NCAA forced the university to permanently disassociate in 2010 as part of wide-ranging penalties for alleged improper benefits. The university’s copy of his 2005 Heisman Trophy was returned. He’s banned from campus. All images and jerseys were removed there, too. Bush’s collegiate existence was effectively erased.
Even the game in the photo, USC’s 2005 Orange Bowl victory over Oklahoma, was vacated by the NCAA.
USC isn’t allowed to even mention Bush in the university’s football media guide, but that wasn’t an obstacle to the Lords of Amateurism cashing in through their official store.
The NCAA has lurched from one red-faced scandal to the next since Mark Emmert took over as president in April 2010, but perhaps none illustrates the amateurism charade as starkly as the since-shuttered store. And there’s no better picture of today’s NCAA than the 8x10 of Bush streaking toward the end zone.
In an unusual spasm of common sense, the NCAA closed the outlet after reform-minded ESPN basketball commentator Jay Bilas pointed out a trick to his 500,000-plus Twitter followers. The NCAA long insisted (with a straight face) that those jerseys that happen to feature the numbers of each team’s stars aren’t connected to players. They’re simply a happy, profitable coincidence.
Bilas, though, searched the store by name. And — poof! — jerseys for Johnny Manziel and Tajh Boyd and De’Anthony Thomas and a host of current stars materialized. That blew apart the worst-kept secret in college sports once and for all. These jerseys trade on the names and likenesses of the athletes who wear them, the names and likenesses of the athletes whose interests the NCAA claims to protect.
The search function quickly disappeared.
NCAA rules ban the same players from selling an autograph or team-issued T-shirt because, somehow, it undermines the sanctity of the organization’s made-up amateurism definition when the average scholarship doesn’t come close to covering the full cost of attendance.
But have the NCAA peddle jerseys made famous by the so-called amateurs wearing them? That’s a different story. It started selling gear online in 2003. Cached Web pages show the store promoting player jerseys on the front page — like the No. 12 of former Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan — as early as 2007.
This isn’t new. Emmert should know that. In 2011, the president swore that no athlete would be compensated for jersey sales. Not that the athlete and jersey had any connection, of course.
“They didn’t come to college because there was financial gain involved,” Emmert said in an interview with CNBC. “They came because they wanted to come to school and to participate in sports. If they choose to become pros after that, that’s all well and good, but this is not about creating new opportunities for them to monetize their position.”
But the NCAA? Monetize away.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- Declassified cables from Berlin Wall tell tale of drama, dare,
- Judge denies settlement motion in NFL concussion lawsuit
- Jay Gruden's long and winding road to Washington
- FENNO: Championship game provides an opportunity to listen to those who play
- FENNO: For Redskins, nonsensical is the new normal
Latest Blog Entries
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- EDITORIAL: Mark Warner running scared?
- CHARLES: Holder's undermining of the law deserving of contempt
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- Justice at last: 'Evil woman' outed for grabbing girl's game ball
- 'Deport Bieber' petition draws no comment from White House
- Critics rail against liberal bias for commencement speakers
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.