I'm bothered that Johnny Manziel doesn't have the opportunity to monetize and profit from his name or likeness without jeopardizing his eligibility. I don't like the NCAA's archaic set of rules that designates players student athletes, and seizes their right to the free marketplace. I don't agree with the folks who believe a scholarship is enough to justify an outdated system.
Scholarships are fantastic vehicles to get kids to college and lessen the financial burden of an education. I wish I had earned more of them myself. Being twenty-something-thousand dollars in debt at 29-years-old is nothing I thought about when I received my acceptance letter to Virginia Tech. A college education is extremely valuable, but in today's billion dollar world of college athletics, some athletes are worth more than the education.
The stars on the field have built brands that are exclusively licensed to the NCAA, respective schools, conferences, and their partners for pennies on the dollar. For the fullback who plays prominently on kick return and goal line situations, a free education is probably a fair deal. However, a stud like Jadeveon Clowney who took out a $5 million life insurance policy because he's ineligible for the NFL Draft, Manziel who's name, presence, and signature has raised thousands for Texas A&M, and all the marquee players on campus that have their nameless 60-plus dollar jerseys fly off of campus bookstore shelves, they might be getting a raw deal.
I believe the players deserve a choice, and not just like it or lump it. The NCAA should modernize, allow student athletes to opt-out of their scholarship benefits in exchange to monetize their likeness and sell their personal brand.
If Johnny Football wants to charge for autographs until his hand falls off, let him. If Logan Thomas can get paid to pitch cars for The Shelor Motor Mile, good for him. Give the NCAA, the schools, and everyone else up and down the food chain an equitable cut too. It'd be silly to contend the television exposure, among other factors brought forward by the networks, conferences, schools, and NCAA didn't help the players to grow their brand. That's business.
Let the laws of capitalism reign in college football. Permit the players to either sell their brand rights for a scholarship, or on the free market.
I know camp begins today, I promise posts going forward will be focused on the Hokies.