Tough times for Darron Thomas, who made millions for Chip Kelly

6/30/2014 update: 

Aaron Kasinitz has the rather moving story in the Oregonian, here. And this is a relatively good outcome for a Duck football player. If O’Bannon wins his lawsuit, Thomas might be able to collect some money from the NCAA cartel, someday.

And right on time, here’s news on a partial settlement of the O’Bannon lawsuit. Perhaps UO’s chief sports lawyer and FAR wannabe Rob Illig will comment?

“The filing of settlement terms today signifies an opportunity to provide complete closure to the video game plaintiffs, but should not be considered pay for performance,” NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy said in a statement.”

Robert Carey, an attorney for the Keller and Alston plaintiffs, said that if a player appeared as an avatar in four different years of the game, he potentially could end up with $20,000 – or $5,000 per appearance year. But if such a player’s photograph also was used in two different years, he could get another $10,000 – again $5,000 per appearance year – for a total of $30,000.

9/5/2012 update: Unpaid internships, but with brain damage.

A paper in the journal Neurology today reports that NFL players are 3x more likely than average to contract Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. And in today’s story on college football brain injuries Ron Richmond of the RG reports that

Dr. Greg Skaggs, the UO director of athletic medicine, also declined a request through an athletic department spokesman to be interviewed for this series.

Not exactly consistent with UO’s academic mission.


9/3/2012. That’s the deal for big-time college football players, thanks to the NCAA Infractions Committee and its vigorous enforcement of the cartel’s rules against paying the players, or even letting them hire agents to look after their interests.

Jim O’Fallon, a former law professor at UO, sits on this committee. He’s paid by UO as our “Faculty Athletics Representative” to look after the players and particularly their academic performance. Contract here. That’s the theory. In practice, he hasn’t had a performance review in 24 years and the NYT reports he spends his time enforcing NCAA rules like the one against letting “student athletes” get free textbooks.

Today, Matt Walks of the ODE has a sad report on the pro outcomes of the spectacularly successful 2011 Ducks. Darron Thomas made millions for the UO athletic department and its coaches, got to keep none of it, and now can’t get an NFL contract.

Meanwhile this story reports an NCAA footballer is 60 times more likely to suffer 2 or more concussions per year than they are to end up with a paying contract with the NFL. And from Sunday, the first of Ron Richmond of the Register Guard’s 5 part series on brain damage and football. They start with 5-year-olds.

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6 Responses to Tough times for Darron Thomas, who made millions for Chip Kelly

  1. brewonsouthu says:

    This is a superb website. And this issue — high school kids getting sweet-talked by coaches, telling them that, for example, UO is the best, and most direct route to the NFL — and then never getting there: that’s the rub. Thomas worked for Kelly, for Knike, and UO. And got nothing.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Do you have evidence that UO coaches tell prospectives that “UO is the best, and most direct route to the NFL”? I don’t think you do because you’re talking out your ass, like many of the commenters here.

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    • UO Matters says:

      This reads like an attempt to start a flame war. Go away.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Kudos to Joe Nocera for printing the names of the NCAA star chamber members. Public shaming might help.

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  3. nom says:

    Not sure I get what is “moving” about this story? Maybe you are referring to Darron’s persistence to succeed while making unfortunate choices, and he certainly deserves kudos in that regard.

    This article is a great example of the complete cluster for athletes, mainly football and basketball, who have pro potential, drive and would likely never be accepted at UO if it weren’t for those athletic qualifications. One of those left early last year and one is graduating and will be a top draft pick this next year. They are great marketing examples of “athletic success” and why we have the Jock Box — to get these guys classes with tutors who can graduate in three years with top grades and then be interviewed about their triumph and travails to and in the pros. They make huge amounts of money for too many groups to count, not just coaches. And nowhere in this piece, or most other articles on players with really top talent, will we read about the student part of “student-athlete” unless it’s to trumpet some ‘go O’ type program for PR consumption. The whole thing leaves me with a great big comment of: “meh”.

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  4. Rob Illig, FAR Wannabe Esq. says:

    Editor: This comment has been deleted on the grounds that it does not contain sufficient self-righteous indignation to really be from Rob Illig.

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