College athletes get bobblehead money

10/4/2011: From Rachel Bachman’s Twitter. Story here:

Guerrero, 27, is thankful he was among four former players chosen in 2009. But over the years he’s wondered about the process — he says he wasn’t asked for approval or invited to give any input on the bobblehead that bears his likeness. He’s also wondered how much money is made on sales of BSU-licensed products — and who got a cut.

He raised the question: Do ex-players deserve a cut of the bobblehead profits, given that the product is, essentially, a tiny reproduction of them? Guerrero said he received a box of free bobbleheads to give away — his mom got two — but he never got any financial compensation. That has changed for the latest athletes inducted into BSU bobblehead history.

Rachael Bickerton, director of trademark licensing and enforcement at BSU, confirmed Friday that the former collegiate athletes featured in this year’s bobblehead set, including Austin Pettis (now with St. Louis Rams), Titus Young (Detroit Lions) and Ryan Winterswyk (free agent) are all receiving $500 this year.

This $500 may well be the first time that college players have ever succeeded in getting money from a licensed product. All the money from selling duck paraphernalia celebrating the Duck players goes to the athletic department for their own salaries, cars, etc. Even after the players graduate UO and the NCAA still own the rights to their name and likeness as players. Fixing this is one of the goals of the National College Players Association. The NY Times had a story on this in 2009, after several players sued over the NCAA’s use of their likeness’s in video games. All the money goes to the NCAA – the players get nothing:

The N.C.A.A. would not disclose its earnings from video game royalties. But they are a significant source of income for the association and the universities, said Martin Brochstein, senior vice president of the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association, a trade group. A 2008 survey conducted by his group found that video-game royalties represented the second-largest category in earnings from collegiate licensing deals, behind apparel. “Video games have been one of the biggest categories for some time now,” he said.

The NCAA is a tax exempt IRS 990 not for profit – that pays their president well over $1 million a year. Players get nothing. And they don’t have to disclose their business dealings to the IRS. Wow.

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