This seems to happen every year – a collegiate athlete is investigated or suspended for accepting money in exchange for autographing merchandise, and every year it calls into question the question of college sports and the concept of amateurism. If you just allowed these guys to profit off of their own names and popularity derived from their own talent and hard work this wouldn’t be a problem.
Former South Carolina quarterback, Stephen Garcia, was asked during an interview with WFNZ in Charlotte how often he saw money exchanged between players and memorabilia dealers and the answer shouldn’t surprise anyone.
“I saw it all day, every day to be honest with you. I wish they came to me, but they thought of me as some rich white kid so I didn’t really get benefits from that. I’m just being honest with you. I saw it firsthand with a lot of players and talking with other guys. You know I’m friends with a lot of players from around the SEC, and talking with them, it makes the Todd Gurley thing seem insignificant by a long shot.”
Garcia was then pressed to share the most amount of money he heard of in a autograph-related transaction. His answer: “$160,000 for one season” of autographs and the like.
During a radio interview on WFNZ in Charlotte, Garcia argued against the rules preventing players from benefiting financially on their likeness.
“Absolutely, I don’t see why that’s such a punishable offense,” Garcia said. “I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that these kids can’t profit from their name, their likeness, sign their name on their own jersey. I don’t understand that and I really hope that rule changes. It’s mind-boggling to me, to be honest with you.”
You can check out Garcia’s full interview here.