Under Armour and UCLA have reportedly just inked a deal that would pay the university $280 million to outfit its athletic teams over the next fifteen years.
This follows a reworked agreement between Nike and the University of Michigan that could pay out about $174 million over fifteen years, and earlier agreements that would bring $200 million and $252 million over the same time period to UT Austin and Ohio State, respectively.
Meanwhile, the O’Bannon case may be heading to the Supreme Court, as the NCAA continues to insist that the value of “amateurism” in college athletics is sacrosanct and must be preserved at all costs. Allowing players to earn any money for the use of their names, images and likenesses – the issue at stake in the O’Bannon litigation – would undermine amateurism, according to the NCAA. Because the reason the players are amateurs is that they don’t receive any compensation apart from the cost of a grant-in-aid. So, if they did, they would no longer be amateurs. And they must be amateurs. Because if they weren’t, they could receive payment for use of NILs. And they can’t. Because they’re amateurs.
Additionally, the universities couldn’t afford to pay them anyway. There’s just no money. If schools like Michigan, UCLA, Texas and OSU were compelled to, they’d probably just have to drop down to Division III, as Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney said a couple of years ago. I assume he’d be happy to have his member schools forego those apparel deals, nearly a half a billion dollars worth just at Ohio State and Michigan alone. And the Big Ten Network, which recently signed a six-year, $1.5 billion dollar deal with FOX, for *half* the conference’s media rights, would presumably dissolve.
Because there’s just no money. Because amateurism.
Happy to help.