Posted: 3:06 pm Friday, June 20th, 2014

Emmert deems Tech schedule cards ‘inappropriate’ 

By Ken Sugiura

Georgia Tech was singled out Friday, and not in an ideal way.

In a potentially landmark antitrust trial between the NCAA and former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon, NCAA president Mark Emmert reportedly told the court that he did not think Tech football schedule cards that featured photos of individual Yellow Jackets players next to logos of companies was appropriate. The class-action lawsuit, filed by O’Bannon, essentially seeks compensation for the use of their names, images and likenesses on television broadcasts and video games.

At the trial, plaintiff’s lawyers reportedly entered into evidence a Tweet sent Thursday by the Tech marketing department sent out Thursday that included a photo of football schedule cards featuring several Tech players, including quarterback Justin Thomas, wide receiver DeAndre Smelter and nose tackle Adam Gotsis, along with logos for Domino’s, Coke and Barnes & Noble, all sponsors of Tech athletics.

Said Emmert, according to ESPN reporter Mark Schlabach’s Twitter page, “I personally don’t find it appropriate at all.”

Tech is hardly the first school to use athletes’ likenesses in such a way, but had the misfortune of being held up as an example Friday (along with Kentucky, Oregon and Florida State, among others) in a trial closely followed by the college athletics industry. Much of the testimony during the trial in Oakland, Calif., has focused on the hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue received by the NCAA and its member conferences and schools and the degree to which college athletes are truly students and amateurs.

Tech athletic director Mike Bobinski stood by the use of the cards.

“These cards aren’t sold, they’re used to generate awareness and hopefully fan interest in and around our programs, period,” he said. “That’s the sole purpose for them.”

Bobinski recalled that when he was athletic director at Xavier, it was “a big deal” to the players to be featured.

“We’re certainly aware that this is a time of high alert and the radar is scanning all places,” he said. “I definitely don’t think there’s anything inappropriate about what we’re doing. I know it’s not.”

Bobinski said he understood Emmert’s comments but suggested that he may not have had a full understanding of the cards and their usage.

“It’s interesting times we live in, to say the least,” he said. “When a schedule card causes a brush fire, we’ve gone over the edge of the cliff.”

54 comments
GoGT
GoGT

I find Emmert is not appropriate at all

Carotec
Carotec

If your photo is next to a corporate sponsor, the implication is that you are the one endorsing that sponsor's product(s)

Put a picture of Beyonce' on one of these cards next to a corporate logo, and watch wait happens. But it's a different case if it's one of the "be glad for this scholarship" athletes?

Put a picture of any other non-athlete student on an ID card emblazoned with a McDonald's logo, and that student would be entitled to compensation, with the threat of suing everyone involved.

 These player cards may not have been sold, but what I didn't read in this article is that Domino's and Coca-Cola didn't have to pay to get their logos onto them. Would these sponsors have paid as much money if the players' pictures WERE NOT on these cards? If the players' photos make these cards more desirable to the sponsors, then that's not an indicator of the financial value these players represent? That's a financial value that should go to the school 100%, and just tell the athletes they should be happy for the exposure? The "babe potential" that will ensue when these cards are passed around the sorority house?
 

  The clock is ticking on the NCAA. Mark Emmert is leading from behind...it would be better if prominent schools such as GT cut bait and start doing what is right for the money-generating athletes. Unless Domino's is willing to pay the same amount of money to feature similar cards of the women's softball team.

It is clear that these football players should have been paid to have their likeness linked directly to a paid sponsor.

Doug_B
Doug_B

So should high school players' images not be used in football programs because there are sponsors logos in those?

RealLurker
RealLurker

Emmert sold posters with the players photos on it while at Washington.  Not much credibility to call out anyone.


I think the solution to this issue is the NCAA getting out of the NBA and NFL minor league system business.  The players should be college students who want to play football, not semi-professional athletes who are forced to attend classes.  The NFL should fund it's own minor league system.  Universities should not accept students who have no credible chance of succeeding academically to pad their athletics programs.

Jmonty
Jmonty

I think Emmert just needs to be replaced.  The man just doesn't know when to shut up.  It's simple, you put a set of rules out there.  If the players don't like it.  They don't have to play.  The solutions to these problems are so simple, it's just mind blowing.  The NCAA needs to focus on these football factories that have known issues of giving players money and bribes.  IE: a player from a poor neighborhood, whose parents have low paying jobs, all of the sudden gets a new car after signing with a certain school.  The NCAA is all about money and how much they can get.  Do you think the NCAA cares about these kids?  No.  They care about the money that they can put in their greedy pockets.  I have respect for schools that actually follow the traditions and do the right thing.  Usually these are the schools that don't get the 4 and 5 star players.  The 4 and 5 star kids are getting bought to play 1-2 seasons.  I have 0 respect for those schools and those type of players. 

Jacket05
Jacket05

This problem is easily solved. Tech just needs to cut a check to each of the players for 100% of the sales of these schedule cards. I can calculate that out real quickly cause THEY ARE FREE!!!

Kirsten4999
Kirsten4999

The big 5 conferences already have sufficent frustration with the NCAA to want to create a separate governing body for themselves.  Emmert only adding fuel to the fire.

Peachs
Peachs

The gorilla in the room for colleges is the obscene amount of money an average college football or basketball coach or even the athletic directors make while the kids are hunting dimes in the parking lots. The arguments use by the NCAA, to not to pay athletics, are based more on historic evaluation and not on present day situation. In the early days an average football coach was barely noticed by his community, lined his football field himself, did the laundry, some slept in the locker rooms, now the coaches and staff are rock stars. You did it to yourselves and the press helped you by ignoring it spinning things the way your high paid PR firms told them too. Actually causing Penn State type reality all over the country, now the birds are coming home to roost. You don’t stand a prayer in court and may have destroyed college sport as we know it once and for all.

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

Mary....I also believe that the recruiting process needs to be overhauled.  Advertising by the Army or Navy is fine by me and most straight thinking Americans.  All our social ill's that you mentioned can't be placed at the feet of the Navy football coach and his comparative and competitive salary.

LongBeachJacket
LongBeachJacket

When NCAA President Mark Emmert chooses to single out Georgia Tech for something that is very arguable about whether it is "inappropriate" or not...he just looks goofy and out of touch. To those that determine whether he keeps his job or not, it may be OK, but to the broader constituency it gives the NCAA an appearance of leadership that is not "tuned in" to the real world and real issues in regards to college athletics.   Given that Georgia Tech....especially the football program has turned in several exemplary years of academic performance in terms of graduation rates (during Emmert's tenure)...the choice to mention Tech as an example for something other than a positive or laudatory mention is still the more curious....

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

MaryCollier.....how does that differ from the US Army sponsorship of a NASCAR race team?  I don't hear an uproar there!

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

Just think how bad it would be if GT's mascot was the Blackfeet Indian Nation!  Emmert would call out the National Guard and post snipers!

Hunk
Hunk

I would agree if they were naked and not wearing uniforms. That would be inappropriate to most tastes. They are getting paid. Just ask someone who is paying to go to Tech and loaded with debt when they graduate. What you have is looked upon as "not enough" by players who have been told that they are the greatest thing since sliced bread since they started playing football. Who have been babied and wined and dined through the recruiting process which needs an overhaul to stop all of the nonsense that goes on. 

MaryCollier
MaryCollier

Maybe it is not appropriate for non-profit higher education institutions to sponsor college sports.

GTBee
GTBee

The ACC title ordeal still seems so wrong to me.

RBR
RBR

I find Emmert, inappropriate.  His entire organization, I personally find inappropriate.  I'm not a GT fan but I will say that the NCAA does not do GT any favors.  The 2009 acc title thing was a joke and now this?   I guess Emmert decides to pick on whoever he pleases.  

Iluvnutella
Iluvnutella

Love my Jackets, but if you are going to use a likeness of someone......PAY EM!

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

Emmert can't seem to get anything right, now can he.  I did love it when the Seminole Indian Nation told him to leave FSU alone and mind his own business.  Classic in your face beatdown!

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

Did he go to school in Athens?

Old-Bill
Old-Bill

The NCCA will stick at to TECH every time they can.


They do not like us and probably never will.

TravisBickle2014
TravisBickle2014

Is he trying to be a bigger idiot than Obama or is it coming naturally? 

67buzz
67buzz

Who can forget the NCAA ripping any team with a 'native American' mascot - like Illinois - and then going down in flames with FSU. The best part, of course, is that the NCAA is headquartered in ....... Indianapolis, Indiana. You gotta love these hypocritical buffoons.

mgt87
mgt87

So the master of the new plantation finds this inappropriate.  Hypocrite.   

BleedingGold
BleedingGold

Is this the same organization that calls it a "violation" when recruits get their cars washed on campus.  Bunch of crooks and everybody knows it.

zengulliver
zengulliver

You would think Emmert would be ashamed to even comment on minuscule issues like this after the way he botched "The U" investigation. They obviously deserved the death penalty, but because of NCAA incompetence, they ended up with a slap on the wrist. Emmert and the whole NCAA should be fired, disbanded and discarded.

FreddieBlassie
FreddieBlassie

This ain't Xavier, Bobinski! That said, why is the NCAA needed? These are colleges and universities here; can't they figure out a way to set up their own governing body and regulate themselves. What does the NCAA do but skim money?

BigTimeJacketFan
BigTimeJacketFan

NCAA needs to be disbanded.  Not needed.  Emmert is a moron.

ToeMeetsLeather
ToeMeetsLeather

Ever since the NCAA stripped TECH of their 2009 ACC championship for a pair of sneakers and sweat pants(that were returned) at the hands of an NCAA employee/investigator who was an ex-UNC football player that was surely aware of the complete sham of "fake" classes going on in TarHeel land, I have had zero respect for this organization. Emmert can take one of these schedules, fold it neatly, and cram it where the sun doesn't shine.

Sure hope those are our uniforms for 2014.

OldJacketFan
OldJacketFan

You have got to be kidding me! Come on NCAA, grow up and quit whining like a bunch of little girls.

GTBob
GTBob

They either need to start paying players or make some kind of attempt to turn college football and basketball back into amateur sports. This whole model they have that is trying to sit in the middle somewhere is never going to work. 

RealLurker
RealLurker

@Doug_B


In a high school program, the players photos are usually all on pages similar to yearbooks.  Usually logos are on other pages.  Even if they are on the same page, they are not associated with an individual player.  I can see a difference on the pictures above because the logos are right beside the players photo.  However, I believe those schedules are made to fold.  The player's image is on the front, and the logo on the back cover.  Once people use them as intended with the card folded in their pocket, the player is no longer associated with the logo.

JohnSmith_
JohnSmith_

@Jacket05 How about plugging in the profit from corporate sponsorships into your equation?

MaryCollier
MaryCollier

@Quackmeyer  I also question Army sponsorship of NASCAR as others, including members of the House and Senate, have.  I also question whether the Naval Academy football coach should be the highest paid federal employee, and the highest paid state employee in most states should be a college football coach.  These later examples happen to be education institutions of "higher learning".  Also, why should the NFL, PGA, NASCAR be tax-exempt non profit.  A lot boils down to corruption in the tax code and political handouts - and corruption in general.  We are like a third world country in many of our institutions.  Our education institutions should be helping lead the way, setting an example, not wallowing in the corruption and poor priorities to the detriment of their core academic mission.

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

If your QB was in the running for the Heisman and his name was Charile Blackfeet you might have a PR problem.

OldJacketFan
OldJacketFan

@GTBee 

It was wrong and the world knows it was. But the NCAA will never admit it. They're too busy covering their arses for all the other B.S. they're involved in. 

BleedingGold
BleedingGold

Look at wienie using one of his banned accounts to like comments.  LOL

POAD2014
POAD2014

@Iluvnutella well if TECH sold the schedule cards them I guess the player whose card sold the most would get paid a whole $5 buck maybe. Tech will start making all jersey sales for #19 only since Clint's jersey is truly RETIRED no players can get money that way.

ToddE
ToddE

@JMcKnight It's natural for him, he doesn't have to try at all.

ToddE
ToddE

@GTBob Why not just create minor league football and follow the baseball model?  Kids who have ZERO interest in getting a degree can just play football and get paid, and all this nonsense is over.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@GTBob 

But where will the money come from for Emmert's $1.7MM salary? That's only $1.3M more than Warren Buffett

Jacket05
Jacket05

@JohnSmith_Did you plug in the value for the player's exposure to be on the cards? The athletes on the cards are volunteering to be on the cards and actually benefit from it from the exposure to the public which can bring more attention from professional scouts. The players are getting paid with a free advertisement of themselves.


In addition, The corporate sponsors will get just as much recognition with Buzz on the cards. People are not picking up the cards cause they want a picture of the player they pick them up cause they want to know what the schedule is. The sponsors are not paying Tech to be a sponsor just because Tech decided to put the player on the card.

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

@RuePaulJohnson @LongBeachJacket Actually, the intent of the lawsuit was to get players paid a portion of the money that the schools make off of them.  I am not averse to paying the players.  This, however, is a totally different story.  The school is making no money off these items.  (In fact, they are giving them away for free)  The athletes volunteer to be on them and are fine with it.  


While I agree that the athletes should receive a portion of royalties for jersey sales, video game sales and other areas where their likeness brings direct revenue to the school, in this case it does not apply.


Whats 10% of $0.00?

POAD2014
POAD2014

@RuePaulJohnson WnE those corporations are not paying for the players Likness. They are paying to be on the TECH SCHEDULE of a particular SPORT. Volleyball does it so should the girls be paid too?

OldJacketFan
OldJacketFan

@AugustaJacket 

Careful AJ, math calculations such at the one you propose, being such a simple one, will go over the head of our resident liar. It could even cause him to have a conniption! 

POAD2014
POAD2014

@RuePaulJohnson any Any ANY banned account can LIKE a comment and you know it. Being a BANNED ACCOUNT means you can't COMMENT but you can LIKE anything,,,,Don't play STUPID.