Sports talk Thursday with Lauren Hunter: All about the money

All of TeamFYNSports, Sports

For years, there has been a great debate on whether or not college athletes should receive compensation from companies for using their likeness on products. Last week California lawmakers took steps to ensure that this compensation happens, with a bill at the state level that would allow college athletes to receive money for use of their name, image and/or likeness. The bill passed the State Senate by a vote of 31-4.

Although the bill wouldn’t have any effect until 2023, the legislation received an immediate response from NCAA President Mark Emmert. According to USA Today, Emmert implied in a letter to chairs of two State Assembly committees that if the bill became law as it is currently written, then California schools could be potentially prohibited from competing in NCAA championships. Such a possibility would be a huge blow to the state, which is home to 23 NCAA Division I schools, four of which are in the Pac-12.

So here we go again- another back-and-forth between the almighty NCAA and everyone else. In my opinion there are excellent points from both sides of the argument here, many of which I plan to explore throughout this post.

The NCAA and California lawmakers are going head-to-head over a bill that would allow college athletes to receive compensation for the use of their likeness.

Let’s start from the athletes point of view. If I were in their shoes I would be flattered at first to know that a company believed me talented enough to feature in a video game or on a t-shirt. But everything goes back to the money. And after I found out that they were making a significant profit off of my hard work, I would want my slice of the pie.

Such was probably the thoughts of athletes Sam Keller and Ed O’Bannon when lawyers representing them filed separate antitrust suits against the NCAA in 2009 concerning video games. O’Bannon ended up securing at $40 million settlement with the video game publisher, Electronic Arts.

And while I’m considering this point, besides the fact that companies don’t want to have to share with anyone they don’t want to, why shouldn’t an athlete get paid for using their likeness? Anytime a company wants to use an actor or actress for one of their ads, they have to pay up. I don’t see a difference, other than potentially the age and where they are at in their careers.  The way I see it, the only thing keeping student athletes from receiving payment is the rules of the NCAA. Hence the conflict between the association and the current bill in California.

EA Sports’s NCAA Football is an example of a video game that used the likeness of college athletes. NCAA ended their deal with Electronic Arts (EA) in 2014. Credit: USA Today

At the VERY LEAST, companies should secure consent from athletes when using their name and/or likeness. And it should come directly from the athlete, even if there are other arrangements that have to be made with the school and/or NCAA. Even if the NCAA controls permission for companies to use an athletes image, I personally believe the athlete should at least be notified and consulted.

Anyone who disagrees with the above point of view probably does such because of the impact it can have on college athletics as we know it. As much as I hate to admit it as a recent college graduate, the whole point of college is to get an education. Sports should be an added benefit, however recruiting has become such a big deal in our nation that often sports become the ultimate priority and education falls to the wayside.

With that being said, we all know the perks that come with going to a D1 college on an athletic scholarship. It’s not like all of the athletes who appear on video games and other products are destitute. In many instances they’re treated like borderline royalty at the colleges they attend, with priority class registration, great dorm locations and tutoring on a whim. And for those who have the potential to go pro, there are even more programs to help assure hefty contracts come draft day. Long story short- many of these athletes who complain about not getting paid also have it MADE. I imagine that if you got right down to it with the board of the NCAA, they would say the same thing.

So speaking of the colleges, where do they fit into all of this mess? And better yet, why does the government care?

If we want to be cynical about it, we could say that colleges want to win championships. And without some of their star players, their chance of winning diminishes. If an athlete gets busted for doing something like accepting money for an autograph, for example, then there ya go. I know that the bill in California primarily focuses on the use of an athlete’s likeness, but if that is allowed then one can assume the rest will probably shortly follow.

But if we don’t want to be cynical then colleges probably see the wisdom in letting athletes accept a part of the money that is made off of their own name. Goodness knows that athletic programs probably receive money from the use of their logos and names.

As far as why the government is getting involved, there’s not a lot of thought I have on that, but I will say I am interested in seeing how this situations pans out. Sounds like enough legislators agree that college athletes deserve compensation if their name or likeness is used, so only time and more news updates will tell what ends up happening in this government/NCAA showdown.

 

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Georgia 5-star QB Jacob Eason reportedly transferring to Washington

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Word spread like wildfire Tuesday afternoon, with various sports media sources reporting that Georgia quarterback Jacob Eason has made a decision regarding his future; and all sources point to Seattle.  Several sports reporters speculated on twitter last night, following the Alabama victory in the national championship game, with many mentioning the rumor mill had already begun and barring any last minute “change of heart” – Eason would be a Huskie next season.  No official word has been given as of yet.

A native of Lake Stevens, Washington, it comes as no surprise that the talented quarterback would consider returning to his home state.  Only 20 years old, he would be required by the NCAA to sit out the 2018 season before making an impact for the University of Washington.  While at Georgia, Eason completed 55.1% of his throws for 2,430 yards and 16 touchdowns, with eight interceptions.

A knee sprain forced Eason to the sidelines for the Notre Dame game this season, where freshman Jake Fromm took the helm and never looked back.  With Fromm’s success, Georgia will apparently lose arguably one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC to the Pac-12.

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Shirah tops All-American Team honors

FCHS Baseball

Will Shirah was named 1 of just 12 pitchers nationally to the 1st team of the 2017 Perfect Game Tourney All American team. In 2017 PG elite travel baseball tournaments, Shirah played for the East Cobb Colt .45’s all summer and for the Upstate Mavericks in the fall.

TeamFYNSports had a chance to catch up with Shirah’s father following the announcement.

“It is a big deal since two of these guys on the first team are projected to go in the first 15 picks in the 1st round of the June 2018 MLB draft,” Cliff Shirah shared, “Will’s numbers compared favorably to both of them facing similar teams.”

He pitched a total of 41.2 innings and gave up only 11 hits and 3 runs for a 0.50 ERA and struck out 68 batters along the way. He had a 0.936 WHIP (walks plus hit per inning pitched) and averaged 11.55 K’s (strikeouts) per 7 innings pitched.

Shirah is a LHP and OF who played his freshman, sophomore, and junior high school baseball for Fannin County High School.

Shirah graduated early this December and signed to play for Coach Danny Hall at Georgia Tech this spring foregoing his senior year of high school baseball.

For more on Shirah’s high school career and college signing, click here.

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Best of the Best: Shirah Commits to Georgia Tech

FCHS Baseball

The coaches at Fannin County High School have had the pleasure of coaching some talented individuals over the years.  Some athletes shine on the field, others in the weight room, and many are just great students.  That’s nothing new in a school that boasts some of the best teaching, coaching and administration the state has to offer.

What’s rare is finding an athlete that encompasses the “total package” – a great student, talented athlete, and a pristine example within the community.  A coach can go his entire career hoping to mold and mentor such an athlete.  Jon Ayers took over the baseball program at FCHS four years ago, and upon his arrival, he met Will Shirah; i.e. the total package.  The credit not only goes to Ayers and the FCHS coaching staff for polishing Shirah’s performance on the baseball field and in the classroom; but also to his parents, Cliff and Julie Shirah, who have raised more than a great baseball player.  They’ve raised a fine young man.

Will Shirah’s family and coaches surround him after signing his letter of intent to play baseball for Georgia Tech next year.

Academically speaking, Shirah’s awards nearly outweigh his baseball trophy case.  Ranked #1 out of 204 students, the Hugh O’Brien Leadership Award Winner has already earned 25 college semester hours as a Dual Enrollment student with a perfect (4.0) grade point average.  A member of the National Honor Society as a sophomore, a member of the FCHS Academic Team both his junior and senior years, and recognized with Student Athlete Community Service Network’s All Area Honors; it’s no surprise Shirah was Senior Superlative voted “Best All Around” student at Fannin County High School.

When Shirah isn’t throwing 90mph fastballs across the plate at the baseball diamond, he’s throwing mashed potatoes and dinner rolls on plates at the Feed Fannin Thanksgiving Dinner as a Charity Good Samaritan volunteer – much slower than the fastballs, thankfully.

Shirah also volunteers to help prepare bags of food, furniture and clothing for homeless and indigent families with his church group at the Copper Basin Crisis Center.  He’s a Fellowship of Christian Athletes event leader and actively works with multiple Christian outreach programs such as Fields of Faith.

He is a member of the United Community Bank Junior Board, along with 11 other seniors, which gives back the community by participating in monthly events such as Relay for Life and more.

Shirah’s work as a volunteer with the Fannin County High School Baseball Camp will be missed when he leaves for college, but he will undoubtedly also be missed at First Baptist Church where he regularly helps in the nursery.  His resume for community service serves as a role model and positive example for everyone around him, a trait his coaches and parents each shared with everyone in attendance at Shirah’s college commitment signing.

His grades are superior, his involvement in the community is respectable, and his attitude is humble; but his performance on the baseball field is phenomenal.

Shirah has lettered his freshman, sophomore and junior years at FCHS.  He was also named All Region First team (7-AAA) all three of those years.  He received the pitching award all three years, and he averaged 1.7 K’s per inning pitched with 190 K’s in 108 innings (Author’s note: In baseball scorekeeping, a swinging strikeout is recorded as a K).  He received the batting award as a freshman and a junior.

Shirah was recently named to the Preseason All State Region 7-AAA team and he was selected to be on the cover of the 2018 Georgia Dugout Club Preview Magazine.  He’s also been named to the Rawlings PG National Preseason Underclass All America Team for the third year in a row.  In 2016 and 2017, he made the All-Tournament team in the 17u and 18u World Championships.

Shirah was named to the Top Prospect Team at PG Jr Nationals and Nationals (an invitation only event held in Ft Myers, FL for the nation’s top rising high school junior and senior baseball players).

Truth be told, there are too many accomplishments in Shirah’s high school baseball career to list them all.  His ability to play the game has garnered national attention – including baseball recruitment (and/or offers) from Stanford, Notre Dame, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, Louisville, Vanderbilt, Penn State, Harvard, Coastal Carolina, College of Charleston, and last but not least: Georgia Tech.

On Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at 3:45pm, Will Shirah thanked his coaches, parents, friends and teammates.  He gave credit to his faith and everyone who supports him as he put pen to paper and signed his commitment to play baseball for the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets.  We look forward to following his continued success in the future.

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6th District Candidate (R) Karen Handel Releases Campaign Video Going After (D) Jon Ossoff

Politics

The failed American Health Care Act just changed the entire GA 6th Congressional District race. Karen Handel releases a very good campaign video going after John Ossoff but can Republicans promise to stop Nancy Pelosi’s agenda? And that they are the party that can deliver? Although Handel’s campaign video may have the right message, it may be the wrong time. #BKP explains how the failed bill may be a gift to Ossoff and leaves Republican candidates scrambling to decide which side of the Republican party they are on. Three strikes and the Republican party could lose the House. 

 

 

Who is Responsible for Obama Care Now – Republicans or Democrats? Will Republicans Ever be Able to Govern as a Majority Party?

Politics

Who is Responsible for Obama Care Now – Republicans or Democrats? How will the failed Health Care Bill affect the elections in 2018? How will the failed Health Care Bill Act will affect the GA 6th Congressional District election? When Obama Care collapses who will the voters hold responsible #BKP thinks that the Republicans now own Obama care, lock stock, and barrel, and 2018 voters will hold Republicans responsible for the collapse. Republicans broke the biggest promise that they made to the American people. They can no longer go back to the well and say they are the party that can deliver.

 

#NCAA #MarchMadness Time for the #Sweet16

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2017 #NCAA #MarchMadness How is your Bracket? Check out #BKP’s picks for the #Sweet16. Don’t miss my upset pick. Who will lose the next #1 spot?

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