Johnny Football, The Flutie Effect, and the Myth of College Athletics Amateurism

If you haven’t yet read it, check out the outstanding Sports On Earth article “Johnny Football vs. The NCAA,” which just about perfectly addresses the complexity, hypocrisy, and utter buffoonery of big time (business) college sports and its “non-professional” status, as well as the current controversy regarding reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny “Football” Manziel, star quarterback for Texas A & M University, who allegedly sold his autographs for money (“The horror!”), which, as Patrick Hruby notes, is just the latest “example of the ridiculous nature of amateurism.”

Manziel, like all top name athletes at all big-time university programs, is technically just a student-athlete playing football. But, due to his high-profile success, he effectively “works for the school,” writes Hruby, “performing marketing, campus entertainment and alumni outreach duties.”

This is largely due to the infamous “Flutie Effect,” whereby the success of a university’s athletic team (usually football, or men’s basketball), especially one featuring a media-grabbing story (see “Situationist Philosopher Guy Debord and the Unbelievable True Story of Manti Te’o’s Fake Dead Girlfriend,” Free Sport, 1/18/13) charismatic individual (such as Natick, Mass-born and bred Doug Flutie, the legendary Boston College quarterback who won the Heisman Trophy in 1984, led his team to a victory in the Cotton Bowl – back when the Cotton Bowl was one of only four major bowls – all of them played on New Year’s Day, and completed possibly the most famous (“Hail Mary”) pass in the history of college football, forever since known as the “Miracle in Miami”) leads to greater interest and thus revenue for the university.

Read on at Free Sport

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