by Franklin Bains
Although yet to take a snap in an NFL game, ex-quarterback for the Florida Gators and three-time Heisman Trophy finalist Tim Tebow will receive $300,000 a year from Nike. On April 22, just a week and a half before his classmates graduate, he will know who he’s taking that first snap for. The idea of corporations taking a large influence in sports has been known for a while. But the line between professional sports and collegiate sports has recently blurred.
Entering the University of Florida, Tim Tebow had a profile which eclipsed his face. As a senior in high school, he was a star in the 2006 All-American game. Those around him are in an interesting place; classes with a high-profile recruit have to feel different from other classes. When there are corporations around supporting the university, the university could be in a strange situation, depending on how recruiting is done.
As we all know, Oregon sports are funded nearly entirely by sponsorships from our most prestigious alumni, Phil Knight, or as the student fans have affectionately termed him, “Uncle Phil”. This past year, Knight funded the creation of the John E. Jaqua Center for Student Athletes in memory of his old co-board member. There was a lot of controversy on the Oregon campus as students feared the enforced dichotomy that would create between “regular” students and student athletes. This returns us again to the issue of Tim Tebow.
A new NCAA Football video game is released each year. This year it features the biggest player in college football for the last few years, which does not begin to mirror the treatment Nike is giving him. This before he steps foot on an NFL field.