Kris Jenkins and Quinton Rose are expert witnesses on NCAA name, likeness, image changes | Mike Jensen
“I tried to spend so much of my time not thinking about it,'' Jenkins said of the endorsement and appearance money he wasn't allowed to make as an undergraduate.
Kris Jenkins is a poster child of sorts for a guy who could have made quick money off a poster — say, a photo of a guy who hit the most famous game-winning basketball shot in NCAA title game history. Add an autograph, proceed to the open market.
“It’s funny," Jenkins said Tuesday of the money he could have made four years ago. “I tried to spend so much of my time not thinking about it."
He meant the money left on the table in 2016 all because Jenkins was a junior at Villanova when he hit that buzzer-beater to beat North Carolina inside a football dome in Houston. If he’d been a senior, it would have been next stop, autographs shows, with paid appearance fees.
“We had walk-ons who went to those shows and made money," Jenkins said. “I was happy, so happy that they could benefit from it. I was extremely excited about it, believe me."
If the rule changes mulled over this week by the NCAA Board of Governors pass one more hurdle — a vote of Division I presidents at the next convention in January, expected to be a rubber stamp — the next Kris Jenkins will be able to profit off his own name, image, and likeness. The facade of NCAA amateurism is losing a coat of paint.
Just in time, you could argue, with the G League offering real money to big-time hoop recruits who can’t go to the NBA yet. This isn’t a competitive move, though. More of a defensive maneuver. The NCAA already had lost this fight, both in the courtroom with the Ed O’Bannon suit, and the court of public opinion, with state legislatures rushing to come up with bills on this subject.
A year after his shot, Jenkins was able to profit off his name, image, and likeness. Heck, athletes from decades past still appear at those shows. If anything, the Jenkins shot grows in stature as the years go on.
That’s not the issue, though. The biggest amount of money would have been immediate.
“It was hard because it was probably more money than I had seen or touched in one setting," Jenkins said.
He’s not suggesting that his name, likeness, and image even were at the top of the pay scale.
A Southeastern Conference quarterback, with those full stadiums and television ratings?
“I can only imagine what Tim Tebow could have made," Jenkins said.
But within his sphere, Jenkins became an instant celebrity. His former teammate Darryl Reynolds said one time how at a Villanova alumni event in 2016, “a lady actually threw her baby at Kris.”
“Threw her baby," Reynolds said. “Like she actually heaved her child at Kris in order to stop him from moving."
Jenkins is an analytical type who can see the big picture. Life worked out just fine for him. “I got a degree," Jenkins pointed out.
Seeing an episode of the current Michael Jordan documentary series, Jenkins can imagine teenagers blown away that the great Jordan had to ask his mother for $20 when he was in college. Jenkins has no doubt that such a scene impacts what current high school players think of college ball.
Talking Tuesday after he had finalized a deal to be represented by Roc Nation Sports, Temple senior Quinton Rose talked about wrinkles you don’t really think about. While still playing for the Owls, Rose said he had asked a compliance officer at the school about how he wanted to sell a pair of sneakers he’d purchased. Could he advertise the sale on his Instagram? No, Rose was told, because even though those Jordans were his, not provided by the school, the NCAA could rule he was making money off his name by advertising the sale on his Instagram feed.
Rose made it clear, he followed the rules.
“You can’t sell anything in your name," he was told.
Now, this should get flipped. If his name is worth something, then under these rules, the next Quinton Rose or Kris Jenkins should be able to profit from that.
It will be fascinating to see if schools and coaches still make the same profit from shoe companies, for instance. That’s not the way it works in the pros, where it’s every man for himself.
USA Today got a copy of the working group recommendation: “Many student-athletes may have limited opportunities in their lifetimes to profit from their names, images and likenesses. If a market exists for a student-athlete to be compensated for an appearance, he or she should be permitted to capitalize on that potential, provided the compensation is not an inducement to attend an institution or ‘pay for play’ compensation."
The NCAA compliance office still could be busy with that last part. Still, this is a stunning change, after decades of insistence that capitalizing on your own name, image, and likeness is against the rules.
“All of the former guys who played college sports are extremely happy about this," Jenkins said of the forthcoming changes. “We feel like it’s been overdue."