In a move that can only be categorized as hypocritical and underhanded, the NCAA was caught trying to directly profit off one of its “amateur” athletes and when it was discovered, went into panic mode to remove any evidence. The player was Johnny Manziel, the starting quarterback of the Texas A&M Aggies, who happens to be in the center of an improper benefits scandal that has him accused of signing memorabilia on two occasions for large sums of money. While what Manziel is being implicated on will probably land him on the “dumbest athletes” list, if found out to be true, what the NCAA is doing is far worse. For many years they have argued on many levels why collegiate athletes could not be paid or profit in any form off their own athletic success, but here you have a billionaire company taking the DIRECT likeness of one of its star athletes and capitalizing financially from it.
There is nothing wrong in selling apparel with the #2 on it without allowing Manziel to profit off of it, because there have been plenty of players who have worn that number prior to him making it popular and to absolve themselves from financial commitment pure coincidence could be the justification in increase of sales, even though fans and media know differently. But when they put the word “football” on the back of the t-shirt it directly implied to football fans across the globe that this jersey was in homage to 2012 Heisman trophy winner whose nickname happens to be “Johnny Football.”
Out of desperation, not only did the NCAA pull the merchandise, they also disabled the search option on the website in hopes of discouraging nosy fans from looking for the shirts. But just like many others who say/do dumb things on the internet, they failed to realize that once something is done, especially in an extreme case like this, its hard to completely remove from cyberspace and more than likely someone will make usage of the screen caption option to ensure that it stays on the internet forever.
While many college football fans have taken a hard stance about disliking players who violate rules by profiting off their own success or receive improper benefits, this careless act by the powers-that-be in the NCAA has give those detractors reason to rethink those opinions. Obviously the NCAA has no problem in pushing the envelop and even breaking its own rules, so is it really a bad thing when a player like Johnny Manziel or even Jadeveon Clowney find ways to profit off the stardom they have created through blood sweat and tears on the field.
Should collegiate athletes be able to profit off their own personal succes?