College Football Players Getting Their Own Cards

The cards will enter the marketplace in time for the season.

College football has been a professional endeavor for decades even though the President of the National Collegiate Athletic Association during the 1950s, Walter Byers, attempted to disguise that notion saying that college athletes, football players, were really student-athletes and not college employees. That ruse worked for an eon. But things are different and college athletes can earn money from outside interests. Yet colleges are resisting the notion of paying the so-called student-athletes even though there is no game without those so-called student-athletes. But the schools and players are drawing closer to an employer-employee relationship. TOPPS, the trading card company, will be putting out a college football card set in the late summer. A number of Power Five conference schools are involved, including Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Oregon and Texas A&M.

Fanatics, which owns the TOPPS name, said it will give some players money and their faces will appear with school logos on cards for the first time. The Limited Edition sports cards will feature more than 150 schools featuring both current and former athletes. TOPPS also has deals with more than 200 individual student-athletes at those schools to use their names and likenesses. Fanatics would not reveal the terms of the deals with schools and added most of the athletes at those schools will not get money. Fanatics also declined to announce how much the individual student-athletes who may have their own deals with the company will be paid. The compensation will vary based on  position, public profile and how high a player is expected to be drafted. The cards will be sold at retailers, the Fanatics’ website, hobby stores and some college bookstores. The cards eventually will not be limited to just football, other sports will be included. Day-by-day, the last bastion of big-time amateur sports, college sports which never really existed, becomes more professionalized.

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FILE – LSU kicker Cade York (36) boots a field goal during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against Auburn, on Oct. 31, 2020, in Auburn, Ala. The Cleveland Browns selected York in the fourth round (124th overall) of the NFL draft. (AP Photo/Butch Dill, File)