Yes, Auburn and Under Armour have turned Heisman Trophy candidate Cam Newton into a running and throwing billboard, but that does not make him a tool of a vast corporate conspiracy that exploits his labour.
Those ads pay for his scholarship — and the scholarships of hundreds of other Auburn athletes.
Under Armour has made Auburn one of its “flagship” schools, paying them millions to become the official outfitter of all 21 of their athletic teams.
But to suggest that Newton gets “nothing” but a lousy free ride to a large public school in disingenuous.
Of the 120 athletic departments that field a Division I (sorry, FBS) football team, only 14 turned a profit last year. The rest had to rely on subsidies from their schools to support the other sports programs. And the biggest expenditure for any athletic department (alongside employee salaries) is aid to student-athletes.
Newton gets to wear Under Armour gear, on and off the field. He gets to showcase his NFL-calibre skills on national TV, supported by a top-ranked football team. He gets professional training, health care, and an education. He chose to play at Auburn because it would benefit his career. And it will.
Meanwhile, 52 other FBS schools lost money on their football teams. Why doesn’t anyone ask those kids to chip in for uniforms?
Auburn has 516 student athletes, most of whom receive some form of financial aid. The school fields 18 varsity teams eligible for NCAA championships. None of that would be possible without the money that advertisers like Under Armour provide.
The school, the sponsors, and the players are all part of mutually beneficial relationship. And someday Cam Newton might make more money than all of them.
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