After Tim Tebow won the Heisman Trophy, the University of Florida sent out cease-and-desist letters to at least seven web sites trying to profit off Tebow name. The university was interested of course, because they didn't want anything to compromise his eligibility.
But then why is the University of Florida able to profit off Tebow's name? Yes, I know, they gave him a scholarship. And, yes, I know, it's always hard to say how much the play of one player contributes to the athletic department's bottom line.
But in selling No. 15 Florida jerseys, they are profiting directly off Tebow. And don't tell me it's because it doesn't have his name on the back. Universities, like Florida, give Nike and adidas the numbers that correspond to their best players for a reason. Florida made $7 million in licensing in 2007 and some of that had to do with Tebow jersey sales.
For his part, Tebow doesn't seem to care. But plenty of others have--college basketball stars Mateen Cleaves, Ben Gordon, Carmelo Anthony and Tom Coverdale all told me in 2004 that they wish they got some money from the sales of their jerseys.
This was five months after NCAA president Myles Brand told me he was looking into the fairness of using specific numbers of players on jerseys and the royalties associated it. Yet nothing has happened. Surprise, surprise.
It's not pay for play. It's pay per sale. It's not a windfall, but here's how it would work, as I've explained in the past:
Say the University of Florida sold 25,000 Tim Tebow No. 15 jerseys. The University makes an eight percent royalty on the wholesale price of the jersey ($40). That's $80,000. My proposal has the university splitting the eight percent royalty in half with Tebow. Tebow gets $40,000. You want to keep the amateurism rouse going? Put the money in escrow. But what's fair is fair.
Either pay the players or stop using specific numbers.
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