by Kent Sterling
John Sharp is the chancellor of Texas A&M University, and he is now my favorite bureaucrat of all time.
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Normally, university administrators like Sharp toe the NCAA company line and tend to say the right things – unless we’re dealing with former Ohio State President Gordon Gee, who’s a whole different kind of fellow.
Not Sharp. Earlier today, he defended Aggie quarterback Johnny Manziel’s right to monetize his fame, and even went so far as to cite the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and said what seems to be obvious to almost everyone but the NCAA, “Sooner or later some court is going to say that ain’t right.”
Everyone else on the planet can accept a sack of cash for sitting at a table and signing his or her name to a bunch of photos or balls, but not collegiate athletes. Oh no, that would cause problems like the players making a buck that the school could have.
So seldom does an administrator defend a kid who runs afoul of the arcane and obstructive NCAA bylaws that this is one of the few stories surrounding Manziel that has actually given reason for hope that logic might prevail without a trip to the U.S Supreme Court.
Manziel hardly needs the money, but allowing human beings the opportunity to monetize their own likeness is profoundly righteous, and the NCAA’s defense of a rule restricting it makes them look completely out of step with reason.
Sharp also said, “He is a good kid. He is an honest kid, he has his heart in the right place. My mother wishes I was as nice a kid as Johnny when I was a sophomore in college,”
I doubt that Manziel saw himself as the pivot point in a debate over the limits to which amateurism can be extended, when (if) he took cash to sign 4,400 items, according to ESPN’s Outside the Lines, but that’s what he has become.
He’s made the leap from troubled 20 year-old college junior (sophomore in eligibility), who suffered the ignominy of having his private life made painfully public by the irresponsible decision of a father who seemed not to know any better to a pied piped of civil disobedience in a dispute he likely understands only viscerally if at all.
That’s okay. When you can earn some cash while taking the morally correct road, all the better – even when you are unaware of the morality, there should be no point deduction.
College athletics and the way the NCAA and its member institution exploits student-athletes is about to face a radical change. A kid who likes his beer and Crown and Sprites (two facts I have no business knowing) is leading a tide of change that schools are combating by requiring kids to not sign anything but school endorsed items.
It’s only a matter of time, and hopefully not much time, before other beloved athletes join Manziel in refusing to honor an unjust rule.
Maybe there will be additional chancellors, presidents, and members of boards of trustees join Sharp’s validation of the rights of the kids whose characters they are trusted to shape.
Do you think chancellor is siding with Manziel in an effort to keep him from talking to NCAA about other A&M violations?
I’m choosing to believe he’s just an honest guy speaking his mind because that so seldom happens.
Certainly possible, but irrelevant as you will soon see. I see it as two totally separate issues. Not every kid exercising his right to sign something for money is guilty of other NCAA violations.
To quote Jesus (Jesus Jones, at least):
I saw the decade in, when it seemed
The world could change at the blink of an eye
And if anything
Then there’s your sign… of the times
I was alive and I waited, waited
I was alive and I waited for this
Right here, right now
Don’t let it be lost on anyone, the fact that this is Texas A&M, a highly respected academic university and home of the George W Bush Library, is profoundly meaningful. This is not a low profile crackpot liberal flag burning pot smoke-atorium.
When Texas A&M talks, people listen.
Right here, right now, baby! Blink of an eye!
This is where Philboy Studge and some of the UK fans can add some value. I see UK as perhaps being ahead of their time. Why shouldn’t some of these kids make some money from their own likeness? I am not suggesting Cal is paying kids or anything currently a violation. But I have no issue with kids getting a split of the pie. I surmise what is currently not allowed is going to change, very, very quickly. UK may be early in being on morally on high ground with the treatment of players, and that’s why kids want to go there.
I wonder what Calipari’s take would be of a stipend coming directly out of his take, or his comp level being affected by kids getting a slice.
Ha! Great point. Lets look at comparables as a means of foreseeing a free market future.
An NFL or NBA coaches ratio of pay divided by the team player average pay can be calculated as X, bulk of the distribution probably .5 to 1. Coach making $2mm avg player making $1mm to $3mm.
A high D1 NCAA football or basketball coaches ratio of pay divided by student athlete pay is somewhere between infinite (zero as the denominator) and 100-200x (coach making $2-4mm divided by $25k a year value of college).
Nowhere to go but down!