Ah, fall. Time for the return of big-time college football, one of America’s most lucrative scams. Care to make a couple billion dollars? Tax free? Augmented by sizable donations—that’s right, donations—from your most loyal customers? In an industry where you pay your most important employees in company scrip and exercise a degree of control over their lives normally seen only in countries governed by hereditary military strongmen? Then autumn Saturdays are your time.
Case in point, the Sunday NYT’s feel-good story on Tim Tebow, Florida’s superhuman and super-Christian quarterback. I like Tim Tebow—well, I probably wouldn’t want to hang out with such a tireless Jesus-jumping hot gospeller, what with all the painting of verses from the Book of John on the face and whatnot, but from a distance he is a highly entertaining human being. He does seem determined to do some good in the world…if the National Collegiate Athletic Association will let him.
After his Heisman Trophy-winning season two years ago, Tebow began working with student government leaders and the University Athletic Association to raise money.
That year, he worked with the student government to run a Powder Puff football game that helped raise $10,000 for charities, including Uncle Dick’s Home. The N.C.A.A. rules are restrictive about how involved student-athletes can be in fundraising, which meant Tebow had to clear every action with Florida’s compliance department.
I mean, thank the stars those upright Sherlocks are on the case. Otherwise, you might have a justifiably famous athlete just going out and taking advantage of his skills and social capital without even asking anyone. And we can’t have that—it could screw up the whole business model.