The John Hancock
I am going to dive into a very controversial topic in the world of college sports that has been in the news lately. Should students be allowed to accept money for their signatures?
Former Texas A&M Aggie quarterback Johnny Manziel and current University of Georgia Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley are two specific names that have been involved in this debate. Manziel was the first freshman in history to win the Heisman trophy, while Gurley was the frontrunner to win this year’s most prestigious award.
Georgia was one of the SEC favorites this year and was ranked No. 6 in the Top 25 poll through the first three weeks of the season. They are definitely a force to be reckoned with when Gurley is in the backfield, but drama has prevented him from participating for the past three weeks.
NCAA officials were made aware that Gurley had profited off his name through signatures, which is not allowed. I’m not taking anything away from Gurley’s replacement, freshman Nick Chubb, when I say this, but Georgia is not nearly as dynamic with Gurley out of the game.
It is ridiculous that this scandal has ultimately cost Georgia its chance at making a National Championship run. Gurley wears No. 3 for the Bulldogs, so his jersey is sold all throughout the Internet including the NCAA shop, University of Georgia student store and many other shopping outlets.
So you are telling me that the NCAA, university and other marketing and athletic apparel stores can profit from Gurley’s name, but he himself cannot? If it were a bench warmer wearing Georgia’s No. 3, that jersey would not even be for sale. The only reason the specific number is so popular is because Gurley wears it.
I understand that in about seven months, Gurley will sign an NFL contract that will alleviate any potential money issues. However, in my opinion, to punish a student-athlete and his team so harshly is crossing the line. I sympathize with Georgia and Gurley for what happened, and with student athletes who feel used by the NCAA.
The guy just wants to play football, and do we not all practice our signatures for a reason? Growing up, teenagers always joke that their signature is going to be worth something some day, and you cannot fault Gurley simply because his is. Georgia is attempting to have Gurley reinstated, so I hope that the rest of their season is a good representation of their potential.