Late last week, in a federal court in California, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken confirmed everything any normal thinking person already knew about amateurism in collegiate athletics.
It's a sham. It's a big lie.
Division I basketball recruits and FBS football players are having the gravy sopped off of them by a fat cat aristocracy that for decades has refused to allow those players to share in the fruits of their labor. In a 99-page ruling in favor of a group of plaintiffs led by former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon, Judge Wilken issued an injunction that will prevent the NCAA "from enforcing any rules or bylaws that would prohibit its member schools and conferences from offering their FBS football or Division I basketball recruits a limited share of the revenues generated from the use of their names, images, and likenesses in addition to a full grant-in-aid."
That's good. So now when an athletics department goes to market its best players as though they are a brand (Hint: They are a brand. Always have been.), there is only slight hypocrisy, not out-and-out hypocrisy.
And I would hate for college athletics departments to stop marketing players, because then we wouldn't get this social media gem that Florida State gave us on Sunday.
Yes, somebody at Florida State -- presumably someone who doesn't watch college football, read the Internet, socialize with other human beings in the state of Florida, and who just opened their Twitter account yesterday and learned how hashtags work and thought "Hey, THIS could work all for building that Jameis' fellas brand!" (It's the only explanation.) -- somebody thought it would be a good idea to allow the internet to ask Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Jameis Winston questions.
Questions about anything. (They didn't specify that, but remember, the internet really has no rules, so any question was fair game to be posted.)
This would prove to be problematic (and hilarious, for those of us who, unlike FSU's social media coordinator, do know how Twitter works) since Winston, in addition to being a fine quarterback, is also very adept at escaping rape accusations and very horrible at stealing crab legs from Publix.
As you can imagine, there were some Seminole fans that attempted to steer the conversation toward actual football questions. Like this guy....
— Rick Flare (@mrsutton2) August 10, 2014
...and this guy....
— CW. (@cytwbc) August 10, 2014
But alas, most of the questions had to do with crab legs...
— Rico G (@ricosuave1911) August 10, 2014
....like a ton of crab leg questions....
— Dr.KennethNoisewater (@BrokerDaveT) August 10, 2014
....like ALL THE CRAB LEG QUESTIONS....
How many stiff-arms did he throw to get out of the store without paying for the crablegs? #AskJameis
— AtlantaCanes (@AtlantaCanes) August 10, 2014
Oh sure, there were insinuations that Winston is receiving extra benefits from being the Florida State quarterback.....
— Reed Strong (@reedstrong7) August 10, 2014
....and the "work in progress" that are Jameis Winston's public speaking skills (kind od mean, by the way, just sayin')...
Have you taken any classes to help with your speech? Because I can barely understand you #AskJameis
— swERVe™ (@evanvance13) August 10, 2014
...and plenty of tweets that shall not be rehashed here about that "night in question where Winston may have done something but the Tallahassee police kind of forgot about the case."
And then more crab legs tweets....
— Doctor Peanut (@doctorpeanut) August 10, 2014
As a side bar, some of the best tweets about the #AskJameis were about the creation of the hashtag itself....
But the creator of the #AskJameis hashtag is probably already being recruited by the Ravens PR staff at this point.
— Kami Mattioli (@kmattio) August 10, 2014
— Not Danny Ford (@1981tigers1981) August 10, 2014
#AskJameis How much do you hate the Florida State PR Department for coming up with this idea?
— Charlie (@CharlieWisco) August 10, 2014
To answer that last question....
— #ClemsonOrange (@WeAreClemson) August 10, 2014
Yeah, pretty much. Here's hoping an SEC school hires whoever the person is that handles Florida State's social media.
My hunch is that person may be available for hire pretty soon.