In a series of tweets, college basketball announcer Jay Bilas exposed the epitome of NCAA hypocrisy when he discovered that ShopNCAASports.com was using college athletes' names to profit off of merchandise. This revelation come in the midst of an NCAA investigation into Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel, where the league has accused him of accepting payments for signing autographs. Highly-debated NCAA rules state that college players are not allowed to profit from the use of their names. These rules need to be addressed. If the NCAA is using athlete's names for profit, then the players should be able to at least collect a payment for signing their name on something if it is offered.
Bilas conducted his test by typing athletes' names in the product search bar on the official NCAA product website. The results were stirring.
After typing in "Manziel," results appeared, showing multiple apparel choices, which were printed with #2 on the front and back, and the team name "Texas A&M."
The product description reads "... Texas A&M Aggies #2 Replica Foot Player ..." Now can you guess an athlete who for plays for Texas A&M and wears #2? Yup, it's Manzeil.
He continued to tweet out more examples, including South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
And Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd:
He even searched Kentucky basketball star Nerlens Noel to prove that the search function extended past one sport.
Bilas tweeted numerous images that can be found here.
The search function was immediately removed from the website but not the mobile version, giving people more time to embarrass the NCAA. It was eventually taken down.
The NCAA is likely to avoid blame for this as the product site is partially operated by an external firm called Fanatics Retail Group.
If you look at the revenue of top Division I football programs, the aggregate value is in the billions. It has been a widely-debated topic, but these athletes deserve some property rights to their own names. Jersey sales alone rack in millions of dollars each year. For the NCAA to be indirectly using the players name to link to their jerseys and not giving the players some form of compensation isn't right. If the league can use their names for profit, the players should be allowed to as well.