Why can the NCAA and Ohio State profit from Terrelle Pryor’s Success, but Terrelle Pryor Can’t?

June 8th, 2011

`As a follow-up to my post yesterday about why former-Ohio state QB Terrelle Pryor could hire a lawyer, but not a an agent, I pose a different question. Why can the NCAA and Ohio State profit from Terrelle Pryor’s Succes, but he can’t?

The NCAA and Ohio State profit heavily form sales of video games, jerseys, and other merchandise bearing Pryor’s name, number, and even his likeness! Millions. How many interviews do these players do on ESPN? They play on Saturdays, and generate advertising revenue on TV! Ticket sales! They appear at booster events to promote fundraising. Everyone fricking profits.

But the second Pryor tries to profit off of his own success, perhaps by selling autographs, he is in trouble. What kind of perverse double standard is this? If Pryor’s success made his signature worthwhile, why the hell can’t he profit from it personally? The schools exploits his image, and doesn’t even give him a cut. Why can’t a gifted athlete leverage his name to earn some cash on the side? A current poll at ESPN shows a 50/50 split about whether college athletes should be allowed to profit from their star status.

I find this entire fiasco idiotic.

Update: Maurice Clarrett has it right:

Clarett questioned the foundation of big-time college football, where universities and coaches make millions off athletes yet the players get in trouble with the NCAA for accepting cash for autographs or memorabilia.

“Why are they even in that position? Why is it that a university can profit $20 million, $30 million, $40 million and these guys are in the position that they have to sell their memorabilia — the only thing they have of value at that point?” Clarett said. “Why are they even in that position to do that, when there’s enough money to go around?”