Tomlinson Turns Down Madden, Rutgers Coach Cashes In, No Texting & Another MJ

LaDainian Tomlinson Turns Down Madden:

Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young
Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young

If you believe everything you read, you would have thought that San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson was just lucky enough not to get the Madden cover endorsement. Electronic Arts officially announced last night that Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young would grace the cover of the next version of the jinxed popular video game. "Vince was the guy all along," EA's director of marketing Chris Erb told the San Diego Union-Tribune today.

Except that's not exactly the case. Multiple industry sources have told me that Tomlinson, in fact, was asked of his interest, was presented with an offer, and told Electronic Arts he was not interested. Tomlinson's turning down of Electronic Arts, we're told, doesn't have much to do with the highly-publicized curse, which has been attributed to the recent misfortune of Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb and Shaun Alexander. It has more to do with the fact that the people at Electronic Arts know that, for many, their cover is seen as the "Wheaties box endorsement" -- in that athletes are usually so honored they are willing to do it for less than market value. Tomlinson wasn't.

The deal usually pays the cover athlete $100,000 to $200,000 and requires multiple appearances to pump up the game. Since the Madden game sort of sells itself, the athlete on the cover doesn't really matter that much, but expect more NFL stars to turn down the cover in the future, not because of the curse, but because the price is just too low.

A Tomlinson fan named Nick Cupolo actually started, hoping that one of his favorite players didn't take the endorsement deal for fear he'd fall victim to the curse. Cupolo wrote on his online petition, "With everyone's help, I plan to forward this petition to Electronic Arts to try and convince them to choose another candidate for the cover of Madden NFL 08." But make no mistake, in the end, it was Tomlinson who made the decision.

There's Profit Behind That Inequality:

I honestly didn't think it was going to happen this quickly, but C. Vivian Stringer, the Rutgers basketball coach, who was in the spotlight for the last couple weeks because of Don Imus' comments about her team, is already cashing in on the exposure. The Newark Star Ledger's Matt Futterman is reporting that the coach's autobiography has been purchased by Crown, which plans to publish the book next spring. Stringer has apparently been trying to sell her life story since last year, but trust us, she is going to get slammed for this timing. We trust it was financially worth what is coming.

NCAA Will Likely Ban Text Messaging:

As we told you about earlier this week, the NCAA Division I Management Council was going to look into the practice of coaches texting recruits. Well, they looked into it and it's likely going to be banned. The committee approved a measure that would ban such communication. The measure will be forwarded on to the Board of Directors, who will look at it at their meeting in late April. If they decide to ban it, coaches will have to stop texting Aug. 1.

Another MJ at Top of List:

If your company is having a corporate event and you have all the money in the world, you should invite Magic Johnson, according to a survey done by New York based TSE Sports & Entertainment. The company surveyed 213 marketing executives who scored athletes in 10 business related categories, including keynote speech, trade show appearance and meet and greet. Here's the top 10:

1) Magic Johnson
2) Peyton Manning
3) Michael Jordan
4) Tiger Woods
5) Cal Ripken, Jr.
6) Lance Armstrong
7) LeBron James
8) Terry Bradshaw
9) Shaquille O'Neal
10) Charles Barkley