Outkick the Coverage posted a story this week regarding Johnny Football finding a loophole within NCAA policy. The news was groundbreaking. Boosters now have a way to dodge NCAA policy and pay college athletes. How?
Johnny Manziel owns a corporation (because every 20-year old football player should have one) named “JMan2 Enterprises”. The corporation is suing a man making profit off of T-Shirts that have the phrase “Johnny Football” on them. According to NCAA policy, Manziel is allowed to earn a profit off of legal actions. Therefore, since Manziel owns the rights and trademark to the phrase “Johnny Football”, anyone who uses his phrase to earn a profit can be sued. So what does this mean for the NCAA pay for play scheme?
It means players can create their own trademark and have boosters purposely generate illegal profit off of items like T-Shirts, hats, and posters for the sole purpose of later forfeiting that money to the player via lawsuit.
Let’s use Mizzou as an example. Two years ago, the number one recruit in the nation was Dorial Green-Beckham, more commonly known as DGB. If DGB wanted to, he could have copyrighted the phrase “D-G-B”. A booster then could have promised him to make $100,000 off of merchandise sales. DGB would then sue the booster and all of his earnings would be brought over to DGB. This is a giant loophole that the NCAA has no real control over because it cannot change policy in order to save its own properties and licenses (think about that little video game it has, NCAA Football 13).
The highly debated ‘Pay for Play’ argument has been at the forefront of college athletics. The NCAA was already making progress in possibly changing current policy, but after this Manziel news broke last week, it needs to come to a conclusion. The last thing college athletics needs is boosters cashing out hundreds of thousands of dollars in merchandise sales only to be sued by athletes, all by design.