CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The NCAA says it will no longer sell jerseys, the first development in the long-debated topic of the association profiting off of unpaid athletes.
“This sounds like a break through,” NBC Charlotte Sports Director Chris Clark said. “The NCAA will no longer profit from the sale of jerseys; they are taking down all jerseys and won't make a dime.”
“Small potatoes,” he continued, “The schools, where most of the profit is made from jersey sales, are free to continue. Hypocrisy is the word that keeps coming to mind.”
The debate was sparked with the most recent controversy surrounding Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel getting paid for signing autographs. It’s an age-old problem: college athletes not getting paid for the use of their name and likeness, and the NCAA making money off their merchandise.
On Thursday, Jeff Tarte, Republican North Carolina Senator from District 41 tweeted:
NBC Charlotte spoke with Tarte about his tweet Thursday by phone. Tarte explained he would like to see legislation allowing athletes attending universities in North Carolina to receive a percentage of the profit from merchandise, autographs and video games that use the student's likeness.
"There's a few chats going around about it, both in the N.C. House and Senate," said Tarte. "We need to do our homework and take a serious look to see what the implications are, because the intent is not to jeopardize the athletes eligibility."
Current NCAA rules prohibit student athletes from profiting off their likeness or receiving payment beyond their college scholarship. If the athlete is caught doing either, they risk losing eligibility.
Since the NCAA is a national organization, we asked Tarte if a state law would be an effective way to acheive profit-sharing for athletes. Tarte said he believes "states' rights" could come into play.
"Hopefully we stir the pot enough, create enough interest on the state level that the NCAA would see the wisdom in exploring this on their own. You may be looking at the 'University Spring of College Athletics' before we get done here, all started by Jay Bilas," explained Tarte.
Bilas, a basketball analyst and former Duke player, lives in Charlotte. He exposed the NCAA selling jerseys attached to individual player names on his twitter account this week and has long been an advocate of eliminating profit restrictions on players.
Bilas told NBC Charlotte he supported the idea of getting the states involved. "Once one state did it, it would put an enormous amount of pressure on the entire enterprise of college athletics," he said.
Tarte said he expected the initiative to be discussed at the committee level once the new session begins.
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