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UW, Adidas deal is latest example of NCAA player exploitation

(KIRO 7)

It’s time for my semi-annual rant against the hypocrisy factory known as the NCAA.

What triggered me this time? Well, it’s the new $119 million dollar deal between the University of Washington and Adidas.

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I’m not even mad the UW or their athletic director Jennifer Cohen. She seems to be doing a great job. I’m not mad at Adidas. I’ve liked their stuff since Run DMC came out with “My Adidas” back in the day. The real villain in this story is the NCAA itself.

When will we stop pretending that the system they set up is anything short of exploitation?

Guess who won’t be seeing any of the money from this $119 million dollar deal with the Athletic Department? The athletes.

Guess who can’t take their game-worn Adidas jerseys, sign them, and make some money after a huge game? The athletes.

Guess who can’t go out and use their own image and talents to broker an independent deal with Nike or Under Armor? The athletes.

But Ron, these kids get a free education from a top-notch University.

Fair enough, but is that even close to being an equitable trade for top athletes?

According to the value of attending the UW for in-state kids is $26,595. That jumps to $51,159 for out of state athletes. Not bad compared to what other 19-year-olds are making.

But what if you compare a top athlete to their peers? Let’s just take one example, the Huskies starting QB Jake Browning.

Most experts say he’ll be a first round pick in the NFL. Now that doesn’t guarantee he’ll have a great career in the league. But barring some kind of injury, he’ll be playing on Sundays.

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The top paid QB in the NFL gets paid around $28 million dollars a year. Russell Wilson gets $21 million. So what’s Jake Browning worth?

Half of that? A quarter of that? Let’s err on the side of caution and say one tenth or around $2 million a year.

Don’t believe me? Go out and add up this Adidas deal, the Pac-12 television contract, ticket sales, concessions on game day, donations from boosters, revenues from bowl games, and on and on. The market value of a Jake Browning is probably way higher than $2 million a year. There’s no way it’s closer to $51,000.

So I’ll say it again until next time, the NCAA exploits the bodies of college athletes for profit. Pay them what they’re worth.

You can hear “What are we talking about here?” everyday at 4:45 p.m. on 97.3 FM.

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