Bilas Discusses Role In NCAA Website Controversy, Favors Policy Changes
ESPN analyst Jay Bilas yesterday discussed the controversy he created Tuesday by tweeting photos of the ShopNCAASports.com website and said he "didn't intend for any of that stuff to happen," according to Laura Keeley of the Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER. Bilas said, "I just went to the site and tweeted about it when I saw it. Truth be told, what made it an issue wasn’t necessarily the points that were being made, it was as soon as the NCAA or whoever is running their site shut the search capability down." He added, "I had gotten a message from somebody that included a screen grab. I had said something about (Johnny) Manziel and his jersey, so they sent me a screen grab of that site of a Manziel jersey that had Texas A&M and 2 on the front and then a big number 2 and football on the back where a player’s name would usually be. And that really caught my attention. It was pretty clear that they’re using his likeness and image without his consent. ... I tried it myself, and it came up. I tried (Jadeveon) Clowney, and it came up. I tried A.J. McCarron, and all these came up. It was unbelievable." Bilas said of the NCAA, "The problem I have with it is the rhetoric that they use and the fact that everybody in the sport, at every level, is getting compensated at market rate, and while they’re doing that they’re restricting the revenue drivers, the players themselves, from taking more than accepted" (NEWSOBSERVER.com, 8/7). ESPN's Mike Golic said, "To put ‘Football’ on the back of Johnny Manziel’s jersey, to make people think that they don’t mean him is ridiculous. It is really amazing that they're doing it on their site and then trying to deny it.” Bilas said it is "just another one of the contradictions that there are in the system." Bilas: “It’s one thing where if it’s on another site and it’s being sold. But the NCAA itself with the NCAA logo, they're selling the players while at the same time restricting the players from anything more than a scholarship” ("Mike & Mike," ESPN Radio, 8/8).
FORMER PLAYERS STILL SELL: In Kentucky, John Clay writes Bilas' website search "hit the gold standard for hypocrisy." What was "particularly embarrassing was the fact the have-no-shame NCAA continues to sell LSU No. 7 jerseys despite the fact Tyrann Mathieu was kicked out of school last year for drugs." The organization also "continues to sell Ohio State No. 5 jerseys despite the fact Terrelle Pryor's college playing career ended when he exchanged memorabilia for tattoos." There is "something wrong with a system in which, for example, the University of Kansas book store is currently selling baseball caps stitched with the No. 22 before Andrew Wiggins, who happens to wear No. 22, has even played a college game" (LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER, 8/8).
REMEMBER ME? In L.A., Gary Klein notes on USC's team page on the NCAA website there is an item for sale under collectibles "titled 'Mounted Memories USC Trojans Reggie Bush Autographed 8" x 10" Photo.'" The signed photo shows Bush "sprinting away from Oklahoma players during the 2005 Bowl Championship Series title game." USC as part of the penalties for violations by Bush during his time at the school was "ordered to disassociate from Bush and to remove all references to him on campus, including photographs and the school's Heisman that was displayed in Heritage Hall." The NCAA yesterday did not respond when asked about the item. A USC spokesperson declined to comment (L.A. TIMES, 8/8).
NEXT CASE: USA TODAY's Steve Berkowitz reported lawyers for former Arizona State QB Sam Keller in his lawsuit against the NCAA have "filed a proposed class-action suit in a federal court in California against two companies involved with helping schools market and sell athletes' photographs and associated merchandise such as frames and calendars through their athletics websites." The suit's named plaintiff is former UTEP football player Yahchaaroah Lightbourne. This is "at least the fourth case related to college athletes' names and likenesses being pursued in a federal court" (USATODAY.com, 8/7).