This week, California’s Assembly passed The Fair Pay to Play Act which would allow college athletes to profit from their likeness and name being used. Tebow notes that his jersey, which rivaled NBA superstars such as Kobe Bryant and LeBron James as one of the top-selling apparel items when he played college football for Florida, vigorously defended the current system.
As things stand right now, the NCAA and individual athletic departments profit from the sale of items such as jerseys. College athletes, many of whom are on scholarships, do not see a penny of that revenue.
“I feel like I have a little bit of credibility and knowledge about this because when I was at the University of Florida, my jersey was one of the top-selling jerseys around the world … It was like Kobe, LeBron…and I was right behind them,” Tebow said Friday on the ESPN's "First Take."
“And I didn’t make a dollar from it, but nor did I want to. Because I knew going into college, what it was all about. I knew going to Florida, going to my dream school, where I wanted to – the passion for it. If I could support my team, support my college, support my university – that’s what it is all about.”
A first-round draft pick who has given up football to play baseball in the minor league system of the New York Mets, Tebow also doubles as a college football analyst for ESPN. He won both the Heisman Trophy and the Maxwell Award as the nation’s top player.
The structure of college sports and the scholarships that prop up the system precludes athletes from being paid. Tebow said this isn’t a bad thing and is actually part of the appeal to fans (and athletes, at least himself).
“Now we’re changing it from us, from we, from my university, from being an alumni where I care which makes college football and college sports special,” Tebow said.
“To then [change that mentality to] OK it’s not about us, it’s not about we. It’s just about me. And yes I know we live in a selfish culture where it is all about us but we’re just adding and piling on to that. Where it changes what is special about college football and we’re turning into the NFL where who has the most money, that’s where you go.”