So it’s pretty obviously unfair that the players at the center of the billion-dollar corporate advertising fustercluck that is March Madness and football bowl season are the only ones not getting paid big bucks. It’s not a simple issue, of course: there’s certainly no consensus on how a player-payment system would work, and there are plenty of coaches and athletic-department types benefitting from the current system who would also like to see athletes compensated with more than a scholarship. Some of them probably work for the University of Florida. But still: with Florida coach Billy Donovan currently starring in a UPS commercial, above, alongside seemingly everyone associated with the Gators’ basketball team that isn’t an actual player, did they really have to rub their players’ nose in their capitalistic freedom THIS much?
UF’s University Relations department confirmed that the other men in the commercial are employees — a few assistant coaches, an assistant to the head coach, and the director of basketball operations. (We wrote back to confirm that UPS paid them for their appearances, and will update apologetically if it turns out they all gave their fees to Darfur charities.) There’s no problem with people making money — I’m getting paid to write this very rant, just another guy exploiting the kids. Good for University of Florida getting some free advertising and probably some licensing fees for the ad. Good on Billy Donovan for going out and making a few dollars for himself and his family, and very good on him for getting his assistants in on the action. But really, can anyone be surprised that players try to cash in on their “personal brands” via extra payments when the adults surrounding them — the ones they are supposed to be learning and taking their moral and professional cues from — are so obviously willing to do the same?