CHRIS MOORE — College athletes deserve to profit off their name & some locals are trying

Published 1:06 pm Tuesday, July 6, 2021

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Many college athletes found themselves in new terrain last week after the NCAA made the decision to allow players to profit off of their name, image and likeness.

Prior to the move, college athletes were not able to sign endorsement deals or even monetize their social media platforms.

The news is still fairly raw and the market is sure to have the big apparel companies lining up potential sponsor deals.

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In January, former Port Neches-Groves quarterback and University of Texas running back Roschon Johnson enrolled in the McCombs School of Business. Last week, opened the door for Johnson to apply his skills. He took to Twitter to discuss his plans to make a little more money.

“Longhorn Nation, stayed tuned for some Rojo merch/apparel,” the running back tweeted.

Johnson said there would be “Shug” apparel after the PNG grad’s nickname.

A couple of days later, Johnson found out a little more about the business world.

“How is it possible to trademark an entire color @TexasLonghorns,” he tweeted.

The post seemed to be referring to the university’s longstanding trademark of the color Burnt Orange.

Several athletes are probably asking similar questions.

Universities might also be adjusting marketing strategies. How many colleges will pay players to sell their jerseys or use athletes’ images to promote the brand?

How many colleges have already used the power of brand promotion in their pitches to high school recruits. Colleges would be wise to lean in and make the marketing teams an intricate part of the recruiting process.

In all honesty, this is long overdue. When I was in high school, Texas won the National Championship. At the time, Texas football was the most profitable program in the nation, along with the rest of the athletic department.

The program did a wonderful job of promoting the brand, but in 2005-06, one person stood atop that empire as the most recognizable figure but one not able to make a dime off his name. Vince Young would have made a fortune in Texas alone, let alone national marketing deals.

A recent story estimated former USC running back Reggie Bush, who played at the same time as Young, would’ve made approximately $5 million in endorsements had he been able to profit off his name.

Bush had his Heisman Trophy stripped after the NCAA pulled his eligibility after the institution found out his parents received housing money during the running back’s time at USC.

Not every player will be able to get millions of dollars from this recent ruling. However, most will be able to profit some money in some ways, whether it be autograph signings, local endorsement deals (think local chains) or even monetizing their social media platforms.

This is a step in the right direction. These athletes help build programs and make money for very lucrative universities.

There is still more to be done and those battles will likely happen in the courts over the next decade. Until then, the least the NCAA can do is allow Roschon to sell burnt, I mean dark, orange shirts.

Chris Moore is the sports editor for Port Arthur Newsmedia. He can be reached at