Advocacy group says college football players worth over $100K

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Thanks to another round of conference expansion and the start of the 2011 season, the issue of whether college football players should be paid that simmered over the summer has been shoved into the background.

Thanks to an advocacy group, that issue will likely be back out front yet again.

The National College Players Association, headed by former UCLA linebacker Ramogi Huma, will release a report Tuesday titled “The Price of Poverty in Big Time College Sport”, which will claim college football players at the Div. 1-A (FBS) level are worth on average $121,000 annually to their respective schools.  At schools such as Texas, that number would swell to over $500,000 a year.

The NCPA came to their conclusion by taking the pro models for revenue sharing and applying it to the collegiate level.

The report, obtained by the Associated Press ahead of its release, will apparently focus on three proposals for paying college football and basketball players:

  • Schools should be required to take revenues and put them into what’s being called an “educational lockbox”, which players could tap into after their eligibility has expired or they’ve graduated.  It’s unclear how this would help the players during their playing careers.
  • Players should be permitted to pursue endorsement deals, with some of the money earmarked for the “lockbox” as well as defraying some of the cost of attending college that a scholarship doesn’t cover.  Speaking of which…
  • Schools should make up the difference between what a schoalrship pays for and the actual cost of attendance.  The report will state that that number falls between $952 to $6,127, depending on the college.

As to the group’s points, the first one will likely never, ever happen, at least with the current group currently occupying the positions of power.  There are far too many hurdles to overcome, first and foremost Title IX compliance, to allow that to come to fruition.  There are also some concerns that, if the students are paid, they would then become university employees, which would open up the college game to unionization.  That’s the last thing the NCAA and school administrators would want.

“Dr. Emmert has been similarly clear that paying student-athletes a salary is in no way on the table,” the NCAA, which has not seen the report, said in a statement.

As to the second point, that likely won’t happen as well but it should, at least to some extent.  There is simply no good reason why players are not paid for their images being used in video games licensed by the NCAA, nor is there any reason why a player should not get a cut from the sale of jerseys with their number on it.

The third solution proposed by the group, has a very good chance of coming to fruition.  At a retreat last month that involved the discussion of myriad issues facing college football, school presidents/chancellors and conference commissioners were among the individuals who tackled the issue of “full cost of attendance“.  While no decision was made, it does appear to be headed in that direction.

Some schools in smaller conferences could, however, buck at such a proposal being enacted due to the costs involved.

The AP writes that “the Committee on Academic Performance is meeting this week to discuss the issue, and will make recommendations to the Division I Board of Directors next month.”

The report will also state that student-athletes — football and basketball players in particular — fall below the poverty line at 85 percent of schools due to the difference between scholarships and actual cost of attendance.

“The NCAA’s definition of amateurism has proven to be priceless to obscenely paid coaches, athletics administrators, and colleges but has inflicted poverty on college athletes,” the report will state.

Despite commitment to Tennessee, Shaq Wiggins visits Mississippi State

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Hit the pause button on Shaq Wiggins and his intent to transfer to Tennessee. There appears to be a new contender in the running. The Clarion-Ledger reports Wiggins is visiting Mississippi State even after previously committing to the Vols last month as he pursues a graduate transfer destination from Louisville.

Wiggins arrived at Mississippi State on Sunday and the visit will reportedly go through at least Monday night, according to The Clarion-Ledger‘s report. Wiggins is a graduate transfer so he will be eligible to play immediately for any other FBS program this fall.

Wiggins announced his intent to transfer out of Louisville in March. His previous connections to former Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was a key reason why he ended up transferring to Louisville from Georgia. Perhaps not so coincidentally, Grantham is now at Mississippi State. However, Mississippi State was initially reported to be on a short list of schools Louisville was blocking Wiggins from considering, likely because of the Grantham connection after Grantham left the Louisville staff. Other schools reported to be blocked included Kentucky, Notre Dame, Purdue and Western Kentucky (a mix of future opponents and regional rivals). Fortunately for Wiggins, an appeal to be able to consider Mississippi State was approved.

Wiggins previously announced his commitment to Tennessee in late April. Now that remains in question as Mississippi State was initially going to be high on Wiggins’ personal list when he decided to transfer. With the Bulldogs once again a potential option, they could swipe Wiggins from the Vols at the 11th hour.

San Jose State safety Chad Miller recovering from stabbing in brawl

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San Jose State safety Chad Miller is recovering in a hospital after being stabbed in a fight in San Jose this weekend. Early reports suggest Miller is expected to recover from the injury.

“He is hospitalized and is expected to recover,” a statement from San Jose State said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Chad and his family for his prompt recovery.”

According to a report from NBC Bay Area, Miller was stabbed in a brawl that involved at least 12 people. The incident occurred off campus from San Jose State, according to The Mercury News. At this time, San Jose police have not commented on the situation and are thought to be investigating the manner. No charges have been filed at this time.

Miller played in all 12 games, starting in three, for the Spartans last season. He recorded 25 tackles and forced a fumble.

Auburn’s John Franklin III may not be completely done playing QB after all

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Auburn quarterback-turned-wideout John Franklin III may not be completely done taking snaps behind center after all.

The Tigers’ new offensive coordinator tipped that the speedy receiver likely would be the best option to fill the team’s emergency quarterback spot in 2017 while speaking to AL.com during a meeting with a booster club over the weekend.

“I think he definitely could be (the emergency option), for sure,” Chip Lindsey told the site. “He’s done it his whole life, so I think he could definitely do that if we needed him to, for sure.”

Auburn suffered a host of injuries at the position last season, which prompted some extended playing time for Franklin as he appeared in all 13 games of the 2016 campaign and threw for 204 yards and a touchdown. He was moved to wide receiver during spring practice following the arrival of highly touted Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham and seems likely he’ll see the bulk of the action catching passes during the year instead of throwing them.

However, transfers out of the Plains have changed the equation a little bit at quarterback for Auburn. On top of former starter Sean White still recovering from a broken arm, redshirt freshman Woody Barrett decided to move to a JUCO and fellow backup Tyler Queen dropped all the way down to a Division II school this offseason. That leaves just Stidham and White with any experience at the position this year and true freshman Malik Willis behind them on the depth chart.

You can bet that Lindsey and head coach Gus Malzahn want to preserve Willis’ redshirt in 2017 so it certainly makes sense to have Franklin slot in behind the team’s unquestioned top two quarterbacks if either were to go down with an injury. Even if everybody stays healthy, it seems likely we’ll even get to see Franklin in a few Wildcat packages for the Tigers given his skillset so his days behind center don’t appear to be fully over just yet.

Ex-UCF lineman sues athletic department over use of his name and likeness

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Central Florida is involved in yet another lawsuit with a former player only this time it’s over the use of a former lineman’s likeness.

Jah Reid, who played at UCF from 2006-10, has sued the school’s non-profit athletics association as well as a separate corporation led by football coach Scott Frost for “improper use of his likeness,” the Orlando Sentinel  reports. He is apparently seeking some $200,000 in royalties and a whopping $600,000 in damages over the case.

At the heart of the matter is apparently how Frost’s summer camps advertised using Reid’s likeness to promote it to future recruits. The former offensive lineman’s picture was reportedly used and the lawsuit brings up the fact that a brochure used the line: “come to camp and have a chance to earn an offer like Jah Reid.”

Reid did not play for Frost during his time on the team and instead was recruited and coached by former Knights coach George O’Leary. Reid was later drafted by the Baltimore Ravens and is currently a member of the Kansas City Chiefs organization heading into the 2017 season.

The use of an athlete’s name and likeness have been litigated quite in recent years, notably in the O’Bannon vs. NCAA case that continues to make its way through the court system. It will be interesting to see if the Reid lawsuit against UCF even makes it to trial in light of that or if the parties eventually settle out of court before it gets to that point.

Either way, probably not the offseason news that Frost and the UCF athletics brass wanted to see this summer.