I Shattered My Leg At the NCAA Tournament & All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt

There's been a river of ink already spilled over Louisville guard Kevin Ware's horrific leg injury during the Cardinals' Elite Eight victory over the Duke Blue Devils. Most, with some notable exceptions, have tested the bounds of hokey sentimentality: the classic story of an injured player inspiring his shaken team to victory. Now, however, we’ve reached the point where tragedy becomes farce. On Wednesday we learned that Adidas, in conjunction with the University of Louisville athletic department, will be selling a $24.99 t-shirt with Kevin Ware’s number 5 and the slogan “Rise to the Occasion” emblazoned across the back. His team will also be wearing warm-ups with Ware’s name, number and the slogan “All In." (This tragically is not a tribute to Chris Hayes.)

You almost have to tip your cap: no non-profit does buccaneer profiteering quite like the NCAA. What other institution would see a tibia snap through a 20-year-old's skin on national television and see dollar signs? In accordance with their rules aimed at preserving the sanctity of amateurism, not one dime from these shirts will go to Kevin Ware or his family. Not one dime will go toward Kevin Ware’s medical bills if his rehab ends up beneath the $90,000 deductible necessary to access the NCAA’s catastrophic injury medical coverage. Not one dime will go towards rehab he may need later in life. "Going forward, we don't know what's going to happen in terms of medical expenses," said Ramogi Huma, president of the National College Players Association, a group trying to organize NCAA athletes. "If Kevin has lifelong medical bills associated with his injury, he could be squarely responsible for this…These are things that are not guaranteed to players that are injured, and no matter how hard it might be for people to understand, that's the truth. And that should change."

Where will the t-shirt  money go? Well, Coach Rick Pitino makes more than $4 million a year and will likely see his current five-year deal torn up and renegotiated following the season. The assistant coaches, trainers and support staff will also surely get a taste. The Final Four ratings boost spurred from the buzz surrounding Kevin Ware's story will also translate into quite the windfall for the NCAA. The multi-billion-dollar slop bucket of March Madness money, which makes up 96 percent of the NCAA’s operating budget, will pay organization president Mark Emmert's two million dollar salary as well as the paychecks for their 14 vice presidents, each of whom make at least $400,000 a year. They will also to be able to continue to pay off the mortgage on their new $50 million, 116,000-square-foot headquarters in Indianapolis.

The Kevin Ware story is why any person of conscience should support former UCLA player Ed O’Bannon’s lawsuit against the NCAA. The 1995 Final Four star's legal journey began when he came home from work and saw his likeness being used in EA Sports's college basketball video game. O'Bannon v. NCAA has morphed into a mass class action suit demanding that players be compensated if their name and image are being used in the pursuit of profit without permission. Others have joined O’Bannon including one of the great legends and gentlemen in the history of the sport, Oscar Robertson. He was provoked after he noticed that his alma mater, the University of Cincinnati, was producing playing cards with his likeness. As he said to Yahoo! Sports, “The arrogance of the NCAA to say, ‘we have the right to do this’… is what troubles me the most. The University of Cincinnati gets a fee each time my picture is used on a card. I don’t. When I played there, there was nothing like this ever agreed to.”

Athletic directors, like Pat Haden at USC, are already lamenting that if they lose this lawsuit, it could mean no more funding for non-revenue sports. But here’s an idea. Why not just make every coach’s salary no greater than the average wage of a tenured professor? Why not end the practice that has football and basketball coaches stand as the highest paid public employees in their states? That money alone should allow for the funding of non-revenue sports while also allowing players a piece of the four billion dollars in revenue earned off of their images in videogames, commercials and memorabilia.

As for Kevin Ware, he returned to Louisville this week, his coach by his side. Coach Pitino announced that he is healthy enough to be in Atlanta for the Final Four, cheering on his teammates. Ware is now a newly minted media star: a 21st century George Gipp with the benefit of having a story that’s actually true.Unfortunately the school won’t even say publicly, if rehab doesn’t go as planned, whether he’ll still have a scholarship waiting for him when he returns in the fall. The official word from Louisville is that the question is irrelevant because “doctors are expecting a full recovery.” One thing is certain. At least he’ll get a lousy t-shirt.

14 Reader Comments | Add a comment

On the other hand...

The Buffalo Bills did much the same thing a few years ago when Kevin Everett suffered an injury to his spinal cord on a kickoff and was temporarily paralyzed; they put out a T shirt in his honor. Unlike Louisville, the Bills aren't making one cent off these shirts-the net proceeds are going to a spinal cord research foundation in Everett's name. The shirt's still for sale...and it's cheaper than this one!

Sick of the Hypocrisy

I know what Mike Rice did by laying hands on players,throwing balls at players heads was wrong and rightfully he was fired

But

This same media who's comdemning Mike Rice's acts is also praising the Soldiers by saying"Supporting the Troops".

Who in the Middle-East are Ordered by their Sargents to open fire on innocent women and children for target pratice and fun!!!

Obama hasn't closed Guantanamo Bay and has approved of the Same Torturing that George W Bush Instituted

Btw you wanna know partly what has happened by Guantanamo Bay?

Did you know that Soldiers sick dogs on defenseless detainees and bite of their Dicks!!!

But

A lot of you and Media will still say"Salute the Troops"and "Support the Troops"


Ahh i hear you,Troops.

You'll say"Shut up,I defend your Freedom"

Welll

You haven't until:

*You Read "War is a Rackett by Retired USMC Smedley Darlington Butler

*Watched on Youtube:Dwight Eisenhower's Military Industrial Complex Speech

*Read Art of War by Sun Tzu

I've done those 3 things,have you,Soldier?

Ain't it about time,America that you re-think why troops are in the Middle-East?

Until so,your no better than Mike Rice when you and the media "Support the troops"

Until you research and rethink the Wars in the Middle-East,you and the Media are Hypocrites

P.S i know this wasn't related to the topic but it had to be said

P.S. The topic is hyprocrisy, Will Robinson.

Whether it's Adidas and the University of Louisville cashing in on Ware's injury or homeless vets from our wars for Halliburton, our nation is one big cash register of lies, hypocrisy and fraud. And, decades ago, Dr. King knew the source of the hypocrisy--

"I want to say to you as I move to my conclusion, as we talk about "Where do we go from here," that we honestly face the fact that the Movement must address itself to the question of restructuring the whole of American society. There are forty million poor people here. And one day we must ask the question, "Why are there forty million poor people in America?" And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. And I'm simply saying that more and more, we've got to begin to ask questions about the whole society. We are called upon to help the discouraged beggars in life's market place. But one day we must come to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. It means that questions must be raised. You see, my friends, when you deal with this, you begin to ask the question, "Who owns the oil?" You begin to ask the question, "Who owns the iron ore?" You begin to ask the question, "Why is it that people have to pay water bills in a world that is two thirds water?" These are questions that must be asked."

It had to said.

Sick of the Hypocrisy

I know what Mike Rice did by laying hands on players,throwing balls at players heads was wrong and rightfully he was fired

But

This same media who's comdemning Mike Rice's acts is also praising the Soldiers by saying"Supporting the Troops".

Who in the Middle-East are Ordered by their Sargents to open fire on innocent women and children for target pratice and fun!!!

Obama hasn't closed Guantanamo Bay and has approved of the Same Torturing that George W Bush Instituted

Btw you wanna know partly what has happened by Guantanamo Bay?

Did you know that Soldiers sick dogs on defenseless detainees and bite of their Dicks!!!

But

A lot of you and Media will still say"Salute the Troops"and "Support the Troops"


Ahh i hear you,Troops.

You'll say"Shut up,I defend your Freedom"

Welll

You haven't until:

*You Read "War is a Rackett by Retired USMC Smedley Darlington Butler

*Watched on Youtube:Dwight Eisenhower's Military Industrial Complex Speech

*Read Art of War by Sun Tzu

I've done those 3 things,have you,Soldier?

Ain't it about time,America that you re-think why troops are in the Middle-East?

Until so,your no better than Mike Rice when you and the media "Support the troops"

Until you research and rethink the Wars in the Middle-East,you and the Media are Hypocrites

P.S i know this wasn't related to the topic but it had to be said

Interesting morality in college athletics

It's actually not so much the NCAA as it is the school in question and the sponsor. Although I don't expect much, there are a few things I would like to see with this story:

1. UofL and Adidas get called out for taking profiteering to a new low. It was all a giggle when a school would sell jerseys or a player's likeness without paying royalties, but in this case, it's the actual injury from the game that inspires the travesty.

2. If there is any justice, the students at U of L (all the better if it includes athletes on the team) produce their own unlicensed knockoff of the tees, and undercut the official Adidas model. I'd like to see the legal bloodshed that would force the NCAA to answer some questions about the dubious amateurism. If we decide that it's unseemly for schools to pay athletes, fine. But if an athlete tries to make some money off of entrepreneurship, just like any other student, there is no reason he shouldn't be allowed to trade on his own name. This part is intercollegiate sports at its hypocritical best. If some sophomore produces novelty items, a university would applaud his initiative. But if a player does the same thing, he's a cheat. Go figure.

U of L Basketball: $40 In Revenue, $23 to $28 Million In Profit

http://www.cnbc.com/id/100581891

If each of the 13 players on the Louisville men's basketball team got just 1% of the profits they help the program generate in the form of an annual salary, then they would each get $230,000 to $280,000 per player for a single year. That would go a long way in helping pay for any medical bills Ware might be responsible for. And I don't see why they should get this when they are helping generate so much profit and their coach gets $4 million a year.

Pay'em all, the young,the short,and the tall

I notice Monsieur Rick limits his 1% payout to the Louisville men"s basketball team. This is very discriminatory. Certainly the women"s basketball team deserves a slice of the pie, in addition to the football team. And what about the non-revenue sports do their participants get nothing for their efforts? Adding the 1%/athlete figure it probably totals somewhere around 200%. The Cardinals should go for it just don't explain the math to them.

Division 1 programs(not all) create profits because people watch them and are willing to pay to watch them. Pay the athletes because it's fair,however, one should pay non-revenue athletes because that's also fair. A better solution would be to take the money out of Div. 1 and turn it into Div 3, which would be fairer.

As of 4/6, Adidas no longer sells these shirts

The official excuse is "logo issues".

Ya thunk?

http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/9139680/adidas-stops-selling-shirt-louisville-kevin-ware

dumb

This argument is sooo dumb, Universities make more money off the students who get loans and spend the next 30 years paying them off. If these Athletes need to be paid fine then they cant be on scholarships. Its that easy. No one cries for the gymnast who breaks her leg no one writes articles about what will happen to her life? If these Athletes feel so used getting a free education in basketball and something for after basketball, free tutors, free clothes, free housing, if they are good enough a future employer actually goes to them to be interviewed. If all this is so bad then dont go. But please they get no sympathy from me. Ware isnt anymore special than the gymnast or a swimmer or a soccer player, all people this could have happened to and none of you would have cared.

John

The finest sites and blogs and forums centered on literature and learning? dadfdeecffcgdgbd

Good info

Very nice site!

Good info

Very nice site!

Good info

Very nice site! cheap goods http://apxyieo2.com/qyovot/4.html

Good info

Very nice site!

14 Reader Comments | Add a comment

PLEASE NOTE: This forum is for dialog between Edge of Sports readers. Discuss!

Submit your comment below:

Your Name

Email

(Only if we need to contact you—not for advertising purposes)

Subject

Message

Dave Zirin is the author of the book: "Welcome to the Terrordome: The Pain, Politics and Promise of Sports" (Haymarket). You can receive his column Edge of Sports, every week by going to dave@edgeofsports.com.
Become an Edge of Sports Sustainer (Click Here)


Contact him at edgeofsports@gmail.com