You have to admire Georgia Bulldog Nation. The Hedges, The Mascot, the Larry Munson radio calls ("Next week we play Clemson in Death Valley, the Valley of Death") combine to put the Dawgs ahead of almost all schools when it comes to football tradition.
Georgia also is out front in cash deposited from the sale of "authentic game-worn jerseys."
Place your bids on the (authentic) Web site now.
Pick your favorite player. If you ante up more than some dedicated fan in Waycross, you could be the lucky guy or gal wearing an actual jersey from the Vanderbilt game.
But something about this smells, and more than the authentic sweat stains.
We can argue until cockroaches are extinct about whether or not college football and basketball players should be paid. But when schools profit from selling the popularity of individual players, those individuals deserve a cut.
It's not just game-used gear, it's the sale of any college football or basketball jersey with a certain number attached.
South Carolina, for instance, hasn't caught on to the game-used jersey revenue stream. The "auction" link on the Gamecocks' official Web site offers only a tiny replica of Sarge Frye Field
Thus we see how Richt people get richer.
But South Carolina Web pop-ups advertise new 2008 "official" jerseys for sale, with No. 11 the showcase item. That's star senior wide receiver Kenny McKinley, hardly coincidentally.
State of new jersey
Of course, McKinley won't see a dollar of jersey profits, even when 23,000 fashionable fans show up at sold-out Williams-Brice Stadium wearing the trendy garnet and white No. 11 for the Gamecocks' home opener against N.C. State.
The same at Clemson with James Davis and C.J. Spiller, and Charlie Whitehurst and Woodrow Dantzler before them.
Georgia is selling 20 different jersey numbers, complete with the Southeastern Conference 75th anniversary patch, and will sell more this summer.
Minimum bid: $100.
The Georgia fine print dares to say, "Due to NCAA regulations, the names of the student-athletes do not appear on the jerseys."
Pretty funny. Georgia fans know their roster better than they know how to drive on I-285.
Obviously, some numbers will go for more money than others. A year from now, you might be able to bid on the 2008 game-worn jersey former Summerville High School Parade All-American wide receiver A.J. Green wore against South Carolina.
All it takes is one brave star college athlete to step forward, one good attorney and a few decent paralegals and college players quickly would have the kind of marketing contracts NFL, NBA and major league baseball players enjoy.
Don't get me wrong. This is a great Georgia idea, partially. The game-worn sports jersey market has been booming for the last decade or so as schools, professional teams and former players sell their stuff to outfits specializing in online and/or catalog sales.
--Miami-based collegejersey.com on Friday had these options available:
--Game-worn Clemson jerseys from 1996-2002 ranging from $199-$529
--Game-worn South Carolina jerseys from 1989-1996 at $299
--Quarterback Doug Johnson's game-worn 1997 Florida jersey for $499
--A Notre Dame "team issue" 1995 Ron Powlus jersey for $999
Georgia taking sales in-house makes cents.
But if a player's performance drives up the jersey price, the player has done more than earn his scholarship.
Or if you or NCAA officials think a major football school has an unfair advantage over a weaker football school when it comes to jersey sales, how about pooling all Division I jersey auction money and dividing equally.
That way, college football players would be able to look forward to a little check each year. Good for economic stimulus and campus area pizza business.
Reach Gene Sapakoff at email@example.com.
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