BY CLAY ABLES | BALL STATE SPORTS LINK
Lamar Jackson is the most elusive player in college football and maybe of all time.
He’s 5x better than Michael Vick. Don’t ask me, the man said it himself!
Lamar Jackson 5x better than what I was at V-Tech….Enough said!! #future
— Michael Vick (@MichaelVick) September 17, 2016
College football fan outside the Commonwealth, were weary to anoint him as the Heisman favorite. He started off the season as a 100-to-1 shot and deservingly so. As a freshman he went from backup to starter in Week 2, back to a backup, then a starter and then a backup again.
It wasn’t until he came out and dominated Kentucky in the second half of the regular season finale did we see a consistent half, let alone a consistent game put together. He thrived in the Music City Bowl, scampering for 226 yards on the ground and fans saw a glimpse of what he could be.
This year the expectations were high, but no one saw this.
At 28 touchdowns through five games, he’s tied Teddy Bridgewater’s season touchdown total from his Sugar Bowl title season. He has more touchdowns than 98 percent of teams in the country. Tim Tebow, Cam Newton, Johnny Manziel, RG3, you name it. Jackson’s on pace to pass all of their Heisman seasons.
With these showings, he’s become the face of college football.
PTI’s Michael Wilbon said this week: “He’s Allen Iverson, with a football.”
As a Louisville fan, I love it. Finally after years of being a second-tier program, we have a guy who has put us on the map. Not just as a playoff contender, but as a celebrity.
Sadly however all goods thing must come to an end. Here’s the latest according to a spokesman at the University of Louisville.
The football program no longer will be accepting autograph requests due to growing concerns over eligibility of its student-athletes.
— LouisvilleFootball (@UofLFootball) October 4, 2016
Look, I’m not going to blame Louisville for this. They did what they had to do. They can’t jeopardize their superstar’s eligibility on a couple of dopes selling autographs on Ebay. It’s a sad world we live in that college athletes are constantly in fear of being exposed.
Whether it’s a video at a party, an in game outburst or autographs turned into memorabilia, the players are in peril of seeing their college careers go down the drains. Entire staffs of compliance are at work in every athletic office in the country. These people are 24/7 runners who are paid to stop other illegal runners from hurting their sports programs.
So for the sake of the compliance staff, coaches, fans — and most importantly the players. Can we stop with the stupid rule that players can’t make money off signing a picture?
No, I’m not going to do this whole piece on players should be paid, that’s another article for another day. However, autographs I want to break down.
The nature of an autograph is defined by Webster’s as “something written or made with one’s own hand, an original manuscript or work of art.”
What stands out to me are two words — own and original.
An autograph has nothing to do with the team or the NCAA. The player is the only one affected, so why does a rule committee have to come in and determine what someone does after practice?
If Lamar Jackson wants to sign a football or a picture of himself, it hurts no one. He’s not taking a way from the team. He’s not pulling money away from the university.
Not illegal, not a problem in my opinion.