Friday, August 9, 2013

August 6, 2013: When Jay Bilas Punk’d the NCAA

Imagine North Korea.  Think about how the contributions of all the common people in that country go straight to the governing body, the dictator.  North Korea has scholars, yet the government says Kim Jong Il is the author of every existing book.  North Korea has athletes, but the record books show that Kim Jong Il shot 38 under par in his first round of golf.  North Korea has laborers, but Kim Jong Il made all the money in the country.

Obviously, the former dictator’s claims were not at all true.  He was too busy to write books because he was focusing on importing mega-sized rabbits.  He couldn’t have possibly been that good of a golfer because they don’t make adult clubs small enough for a man of his size.  And clearly he didn’t make all the money; he had the impoverished citizens do all the work so he could bring in more money to spend on Hennessy.  The man was undoubtedly taking credit for other people’s accomplishments.

Imagine North Korea again.  Now imagine that all the citizens of North Korea are college athletes.  Imagine that the governing body of these college athletes is finding any possible way it can to make money from them.  Imagine that these athletes are getting no recognition or compensation from the governing body for their hard work.

Guess what?  You’re imagining what’s going on in real life.  You’re thinking of the NCAA.  In essence, the NCAA parallels North Korea while Mark Emmert is Kim Jong Un.  Simply put, the organization whose official website says it was “founded more than one hundred years ago as a way to protect student athletes” is full of crap.  In reality, the NCAA is just trying to protect UNC’s Academic Fraud scandal, Duke basketball and Mark Emmert’s trust fund.  Regarding the athletes it rules over, the NCAA just trying to make money, and it’s doing so by taking revenue gained in the names of its unpaid athletes.

Given its status as a multi-billion dollar industry that makes sickening amounts of money from game revenue, we already know the NCAA doesn’t give a dime of this money to the players who actually compete and bring in this money.  It’s totally unfair.  We know the NCAA makes money off EA’s “NCAA Football” video game franchise, which is based on Division I teams and doesn’t reward the players any money for using their likeness.  And after an eye-opening discovery by Jay Bilas, we now know the NCAA makes money off its athletes through jersey sales.

Correction: the NCAA was making money through these methods.  While nothing has changed about contest revenue going to the governing body, EA Sports has ended its contract with the NCAA, which is good news for the football players.  As of August 2013, the NCAA no longer sells jerseys that take after the country’s most popular athletes.  This is where Jay Bilas comes in.

On August 6, Bilas went on a tweeting spree.  Not the kind of twitter spree you see from young people who argue about Kobe vs Lebron or are misinformed about a highly controversial murder case.  It was, rather, an informative spree.  It was a game-changing spree.  On August 6, 2013, Jay Bilas punk’d the NCAA.

It all started when Bilas got curious and started looking through the NCAA’s official apparel store.  He decided he wanted to find a Johnny Manziel replica jersey.  Now, of course it couldn’t have Manziel’s name or likeness; it would just have to be a generic Texas A&M jersey… right?  Just to be safe, Bilas typed “Manziel” in the search bar and waited for the results.  This image is what the following page showed:

Somebody explain how the website knew to direct him to Manziel’s jersey, despite supposedly intending to keep amateur players’ names and likenesses out of is revenue?

Manziel isn’t the only one getting screwed over by this.  Bilas tweeted all day on August 6, showing computer screen shots of players’ replica jerseys being shown.  There was a common theme here.

Bilas discovered that if you search “Marquis Lee” then the result will show USC #9 football jersey.

If you search “Nerlens Noel” then the result will be a #3 Kentucky basketball jersey.  Honestly, those jerseys are pretty cool.  I’m sure a lot have been sold, and I wonder how much money Manziel, Lee and Noel would make if they were given even a small percentage of the profits from these jersey sales.  It could end up being more than their future rookie contracts.

Now, back to Bilas.  One of ESPN’s most endeared personalities, Bilas is an influential force on Twitter.  He’s got half a million followers and follows nobody (young twitterers know the significance of this).  Once word spread that the NCAA apparel site was yielding accurate results from player-specific searches, the outrage toward this corrupt organization became evident throughout America.  Later that day, Das Fuhrer Mark Emmert made a statement to address the situation:

“I can’t speak to why we entered into that enterprise but it’s not appropriate for us and we’re going to exit it… I certainly understand how people can see that as hypocritical.”

While making no attempt to sound like he actually cared about the well-being of the student athletes Emmert continued to explain that the NCAA closed all sales of its officially licensed replica jerseys and memorabilia.  The mob effect worked, as Jay Bilas and his vigilant cronies sent a gigantic “up yours” to the executives in the NCAA dictator’s offices.

Still, the nation’s most iconic student athletes remain uncompensated for their efforts, but at least this “replica memorabilia” nonsense will no longer continue.  For the student athletes, it’s the small victories that count right now.  In less than a one-month span, the NCAA regime has lost 2 of its most widespread student-athlete related income sources.  With no money to make from video games or jersey sales, all it has to rely on is games.  If the big time coaches have it their way, the NCAA might be kicked out of town in a few years.  It can take its silly rules, corrupt rulings, douchey president and unjust revenue methods with it.

If only we could do the same to North Korea.

-Nate Dillon

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