Take it from a professor: Ironical is a word you can’t spell without N-I-L.
In what is believed to be a first in the ever-evolving world of college athlete endorsement deals, a group of reformist academics have paid a current college basketball player to promote their upcoming law review article advocating for a dramatic overhaul of the NCAA.
On Tuesday, Rutgers guard Geo Baker tweeted to his followers about a forthcoming academic paper due to be published in the Florida Law Review: “Reimagining the Governance of College Sports After Alston.”
Here is a new law review article forthcoming in the Florida Law Review titled: Reimagining the Governance of College Sports After Alston here is the link: https://t.co/XWmfR536kV the authors of the article paid for this post.
— Geo Baker (@Geo_Baker_1) September 21, 2021
The article’s lead author, John Holden, an assistant professor of law at Oklahoma State specializing in the “corruption of sport,” says that Baker was one of the first respondents to a tweet he posted last week, soliciting current college athletes to promote the article. (Baker did not respond to an interview request sent to an email address he lists for business opportunities.)
The fifth-year senior gained national attention this past March when he joined Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon and current Detroit Pistons draftee Isaiah Livers in leading the #NotNCAAProperty social media movement, which challenged restrictions to college athlete compensation.
In an interview with ESPN’s College GameDay earlier this year, Baker said that he and his fellow Scarlet Knights teammates had serious discussions with some players on Clemson about furthering the protest message by causing a delay to the start of their first-round NCAA tournament game. That ultimately didn’t come to pass.
After some quick back-and-forth this week, and following clearance from Rutgers’ compliance officials, Holden says he drafted a “quick contract” Monday, and Baker signed it Tuesday morning. The deal was for $100, which Holden said he paid “out of my own pocket.”
(For those scoring at home: That’s a Big 12 employee paying a Big Ten athlete to promote writing to be published by an SEC law school.)
Holden says other college athletes are already on board to make future social media posts promoting the paper—coauthored by Baruch College law professor Marc Edelman, Georgia associate professor Thomas Baker and Michigan physician Andrew Shuman—which itself promotes a greater involvement of athletes in the governance of college athletics. It is scheduled to be published sometime next year.
“I thought it was kind of a great opportunity to not only publicize a paper we are pretty proud of,” Holden said, “but to highlight these changes and opportunities athletes have, which is something the [paper’s authors] have always focused our academic work on.”
Holden says he hatched the promotional idea about four months ago, and then nervously scrolled Twitter over the last 11 weeks, hoping it wouldn’t occur to a rival academic.
“I didn’t want anybody to steal it,” he said, “so I was glad the day has come.”