San Francisco Chronicle
High hopes for Garbers, Bears
LOS ANGELES — Nearly a month into college athletes being able to legally profit off their names, image and likeness for the first time, the tsunami waves that many predicted haven’t developed.
Heck, it’s been closer to a bubbling brook.
Even with his surferboy smile and while playing the marquee position for Cal football, quarterback Chase Garbers said at Tuesday’s Pac12 media day that he’s partnered with only one company so far.
The senior didn’t say exactly how much he will make in his deal with Orgain Clean Nutrition, but it appears as though he’ll get a fraction of what is sold on the health food’s website when the buyer uses a Garbersspecific code (Garbers30) at checkout.
“I think it’s a great opportunity, and for the players, it’s been a long time coming,” Garbers said. “It’s been on the forefront of college athletics for a couple decades now. It’s going to be interesting to see how Year 1 plays out, and how it changes over the next three to five years, as far as rules and how it affects the college landscape.”
In order to maintain amateur status, the NCAA had prohibited athletes from accepting outside funds, claiming being compensated with a scholarship and living stipends was more than enough.
In 2019, however, California passed the “Fair Pay to Play” act after former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon’s lawsuit against the NCAA prevented the organization from licensing the likenesses of players for profit. The law is slated to be enacted in 2023.
Nineteen other states have passed similar legislation, including seven acts that became law this month. This left the NCAA no choice but to adapt its own guidelines and allow athletes to use their celebrity in sponsored social media posts or advertisements, sponsored videos on Twitter or YouTube, training lessons or summer camps, and autograph and merchandise sales.
Athletes still are not allowed to choose a school based on payments, and schools are responsible for deciding whether a proposed athlete deal will compete with a preexisting university deal.
Cal’s administration tried to get ahead of the confusion last month, starting “Golden,” a consulting group aimed at teaching the athletes about contract negotiations, brand management and tax implications.
“I think it’s going to be months, maybe even years, before it really sorts itself out,” Cal football coach Justin Wilcox said. “With our location, being in the Bay Area, there’s going to be a number of opportunities for players on our team. I know they’re excited about it.”
Some of the biggest names in college football aren’t waiting years to figure out how to profit in the new world order.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban recently said at a Texas High School Coaches Association convention that quarterback Bryce Young is nearing the $1 million mark in sponsorships. But Young’s only known deal is with Cash App.
ESPN reported that Miami quarterback D’Eriq King signed a $20,000 deal with College Hunks Hauling Junk, a moving service headquartered in Tampa. Bojangles, a popular fastfood chain in the South, said in a news release that North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell and Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei were now endorsers.
On one of his social media accounts, Uiagalelei wrote: the region “is serious about three things: Jesus, football and Bojangles.”
Even after a coronavirusstricken 2020, during which Cal was limited to four games, Garbers has played 25 games — the same number as Howell and many more than Uiagalelei (10) and Young (nine). Wilcox believes his quarterback, who has a career 130.2 rating, will have a breakout year in his second season under offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave.
“I think Chase is primed for a great season. I really do,” Wilcox said. “He’s played a ton of football, and gotten a lot of different experiences. You can see his comfort level in practice, his comfort level within the schemes, just operating. He’s confident. …
“I think Chase is just primed for a very, very good season.”
And with that, probably some more endorsement opportunities.