Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green sold his game-worn jersey from last year's Independence Bowl for $1,000, catching the eye of the NCAA and resulting in a four game suspension.
NEWS: A.J. Green has been suspended by the NCAA for four games.
I was all ready to slam the NCAA for coming down hard on a player that simply sold a jersey. The key here is that he sold the jersey to a person that fit the NCAA definition of an agent. That, in my opinion, is looking for a roundabout way to take improper benefits.
The A.J. Green investigation does raise an important issue, though. I'll be clear, I don't condone selling the jersey. It was a stupid move that definitely violates NCAA rules. At the same time, how much money do universities make off selling both game-worn and replica jerseys every year? How many practice- and game-worn jerseys does WSU sell at surplus?
Universities are already making a ton of money off its athletes by capitalizing on their on-field performances. I understand why an athlete would want to make their own cut of it, selling off something of value to make an extra dollar. In Green's case, selling it to an "agent" was stupid, but what if it wasn't an agent? It still violates the NCAA rules and still would be punished, but is it really wrong?
If the NCAA, and the institutions under its supervision, uses players' likenesses to market the product, why don't players get a cut? Is it wrong for a player to want a piece and take it into their own hands? Personally, I don't think it is. I understand that what Green did wasn't smart, but I also understand why a player would do it.