Yesterday, all potential Friday Roundup topics promptly took a back seat in my brain once Todd Gurley’s suspension hit the newswire. Georgia originally announced the suspension as “indefinite”, but Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman and his source believe the suspension will only last two or three games. Regardless of suspension length, Gurley will likely bid farewell to any chance of winning the Heisman thanks to this mess.
Regardless of where you might stand on the NCAA rule about a student-athlete making money off their own likeness, Fox Sports’ Stewart Mandel sent a friendly reminder that the judge in the O’Bannon case, the supposed death blow of NCAA amateurism, had the chance remove that restriction but passed. So by all means, call the rule dumb, stupid, or whatever else you so chose, but Gurley indeed broke a rule that put his eligibility, and his Heisman, at risk.
Still…something smells different about this case and the stench isn’t coming from the NCAA, college football’s favorite scapegoat.
Andy Staples of SI.com reported that Gurley signed 80 pieces of memorabilia and earned $400 doing so. Let’s take a step back and put that $400 in perspective. Back in my student manager days at Notre Dame, I stayed on campus over the summer and received the same per diem as all student athletes did since the dining halls were closed. Todd Gurley allegedly signed away his Heisman chances for less than two of those per diem checks.
And let’s put that value in perspective against the stuff that he signed. An eBay search on Gurley autographs shows that memorabilia dealer could recoup the full cost of the signing fee by selling just two signed jerseys. The dealer then has 78 pieces of autographed merchandise left to sell, making his ROI on that $400 signing fee simply absurd as is his overall profit margin as I’d wager any dealer is marking up by at least 100%.
So if we wish to remain serious about preventing exploitation of student-athletes, we might want to start with this asshole as he will make a killing off Gurley’s signature. Georgia certainly isn’t reaping the benefits of those particular profits. Even worse, the person that provided the smoking gun to trigger this suspension is most likely the same guy that paid him.
SBNation revealed that someone sent them an email about this story and its original contents looked suspiciously like the evidence that SI.com claimed they had seen. Two weeks prior, the sub-Reddit for college football, /r/cfb, had a thread in which someone claimed that a Heisman favorite would soon find themselves suspended. The information provided by that poster, who since deleted their Reddit account, looks eerily similar, but a later post by that same user looks even more damning. The Reddit mods that run their Twitter presence confirmed that post was from the same user that did an AMA (ask me anything) about paying college players for their autographs.
Reading between the lines on this, it almost appears at if this memorabilia dealer saw that Gurley took money from other dealers, flooding a market that he thought he had cornered. I don’t think it is that large of a stretch of the imagine to assume that, in response to his profits taking a hit, he decided to leak this story and provide evidence against Gurley. With all NCAA eyes on Gurley, the steadily increasing supply of autographed items now comes to a stretching halt, which will eventually lead to prices rising back to where this dealer wants them.
If my theory is true, this dealer effectively exploited Gurley twice. That is the real heart of the problem here and the NCAA is powerless to do anything about it other than suspending Gurley. While this suspension will certainly cost Gurley the Heisman, in a strange twist of irony, it will probably increase his draft stock as NFL scouts and teams will see more tread on the tires and a longer potential career for Gurley.
In the end, Gurley will still get paid and handsomely. He will eventually retain an agent that will ensure his client is paid properly for his signature. Heisman or not, he’ll be just fine as will the autograph dealer who will still rake in the profits from his stock.
Georgia and their fans are the ones that take this bullet. It’s the only recourse that the NCAA bylaws allow punish the breaking of their bylaws. But, even if the NCAA decided tomorrow to remove this rule from the books, they still will be unable to stop crooked memorabilia dealers like the one involved here in their exploitation attempts.
Their money goes straight into their pockets while schools take their money an reinvest it into their own institution whether it is the football team itself, other sports, education, etc. Yes, I realize people love to debate just how much is spent in those efforts in relation to the salaries for employees of the athletic department; however, I can guarantee every school is making some sort of attempt to put football profits back into their schools while these memorabilia dealers watch their bank accounts inflate.
Do I believe the NCAA needs some changes? Definitely. Their system of enforcement is laughable at best, but more concerning is that all of these amateurism rules in place are also supposed to protect student-athletes from the vultures circling these kids in order to profit off of them. As seen in this case with Gurley, that too has been a complete and utter failure.
Your weekly Savin’ Aven update: I’m going to start providing weekly updates on our fundraising efforts here in the Roundup. If I get some bigger news from the family, I will be sure to make a separate post. In week one of this effort, y’all have helped push this fund to $5,332 which is over one-third of the original goal. Keep it going and keep spreading the word. For more on Aven’s story and donation information, please check out this post.
Trevor Knight and Katy Perry look to be a Craigslist missed connection. Knight hasn’t called her, but then again, he doesn’t have her number. Poor guy.
Irish in Rome? AS Roma, an Italian Serie A team, wants to host the “Holy War” between ND and Boston College, with the pope tossing the coin. Not joking.
Some CFB writers got a chance to act as the playoff committee. The results were interesting and I’m going to link Forde’s experience for one reason only: he was forced to play the role of Ty Willingham (and was the butt-end of golfing jokes) which is beyond hilarious after he took ND to task for firing him years ago.
And now your moment of Nix… How long can you watch Brady Hoke clap?
So I wanted to see if North Carolina had some kind of unique cocktail it could claim for this week. Hilariously enough, I found more drinks that were inspired by Cheerwine than the Tar Heels. However, I did manage to stumble upon one recipe that I guess is Tar Heel inspired based on the color, but to hell with it. After all ND has been putting the opposing team’s color of Gatorade up on BK’s podium for giggles the past couple of weeks, so let’s roll with it.
The “Tar Hell” (aka Blue) Margarita
2 oz Tequila
1 oz Triple Sec
1 oz Blue Curaco
1 oz Lime Juice
Sugar (or salt) to rim glass (optional)
Simple enough to make. Throw everything into a shaker and pour into a glass. Added bonus, this blue ends up dark enough so you can pass this off as a Notre Dame inspired margarita at your tailgate instead of screaming that you are drinking the blood of your enemies, which might be concerning to some outside Southern Cal week.
As for the beer, I think I’m going to give a nod to the native Cheerwine of North Carolina and suggest Sam Adam’s Cherry Wheat.