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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Oregon players annoyed at school for profiting off their memorabilia

To see the hypocrisy of college athletics near its worst, pay a visit to OregonAuthentic.com. There you’ll be able to bid on game-worn jerseys, gear and other equipment used by current and former University of Oregon athletes. Naturally, none of those athletes will see a dime. To make you forget that detail, maybe the school was counting on your overwhelming excitement for getting some sweet Ducks merch.

The idea behind the site is to reduce inventory. The NCAA doesn’t permit schools to let players keep any more than three jerseys. Without Hermione’s magic purse in “Harry Potter,” the rest of the gear and equipment piles up. They have to go somewhere, and, as Oregon’s senior associate athletic director for marketing and public relations Craig Pintens suggests: “Why not share them with the fans?” According to the site, all money raised “directly supports the University of Oregon Department of Athletics and student-athletes.”

At writing, the LaMichael James jersey worn the night he broke the school’s career rushing mark is up to $980. And that’s with 10 days still left to bid! Also up for bidding is a No. 90 jersey — that belongs to Ricky Heimuli, who the NCAA forbids Oregon from mentioning because he’s an active player. You can get that one for a fraction of the price of James’. All items started with a $1 bid.

But don’t think any Ducks are going to take getting so blatantly and shamelessly swindled laying down.

“It’s just like another scheme, another wrinkle where the university, the football program and Nike are gonna make tons of money off me and my buddies,” former o-lineman Mark Asper told The Register-Guard in Eugene.

James also weighed in on the topic via Twitter:

Also there to highlight the sham is former quarterback Nate Costa: “We just don’t feel it’s right. You have to buy your own jersey and if you don’t, they’ll sell your own jersey to make a profit.”

In response, Pintens understands why the players would have a gripe, calling it a “valid point.”

Oregon isn’t the only school that’s auctioned off gear belonging to its star players. Auburn got $1,500 for Cam Newton’s BCS Championship pants, and Michigan took in $1,310 for a pair of Denard Robinson’s pants last season. Seriously, I want to know who is throwing down that much coin for pants.

As for Asper:

If No. 79 comes up, sure, Asper is in. He figures face value might be $75.

He’ll drop $100 “for sentimental reasons.” If the bidding goes higher, though, he’s out.

Someone else will buy the shirt off his back.

You know what would be cool? If somebody bought Asper’s jersey and then donated it to him.

It’s ultimately the NCAA’s fault for it even coming to this. You can’t blame Oregon. The NCAA is the worst.

H/T Eye on College Football
Photo credit: Jim Z. Rider-US PRESSWIRE



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