Behold, ladies and gentlemen, the true power of social media in all of its glory. ESPN analyst and noted anti-NCAA crusader Jay Bilas spent his Tuesday afternoon embarrassing the governing body of intercollegiate sports. What he did was simple: He instructed fans to go to the NCAA’s online shop and type in a star football player. The screencap above is for Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel. The NCAA is not supposed to be directly profiting off the names of their student-athletes, but obviously an Aggies No. 2 jersey with the word “Football” on the back was meant for Johnny Football.
In a matter of hours, the actual Search Bar on the site was taken down and, as the above screen shows, the shirt was discontinued.
Now, only days after that, president Mark Emmert has announced that all apparel sales will have the same fate as the Johnny Football shirt.
The NCAA will no longer be selling jerseys, or school related apparel or memorabilia.
Reading this, the big question is, of course, whether or not Emmert understands how “aggregator sites” work. If another company, say for example the Collegiate Licensing Company, was selling apparel on the NCAA site (and Emmert suggests when he mentions aggregating content), that home site earns a share of the sales.
So even if the NCAA was not directly selling the apparel, it would still have been making plenty of money off the sale of Johnny Manziel, Jadeveon Clowney, Teddy Bridgewater and so on and so forth.
Yes, Mr. Emmert, the people can – and did – see that as hypocritical.
First video games, now apparel. Things fall apart, sometimes quickly, and at this rate it won’t be long until there is very little of the NCAA left.
Please, take a moment and give Mr. Bilas a round of applause.