Dec 12, 2020; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Graham Mertz (5) in action during the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

NCAA formally adopts interim name, image and likeness policy

In a sea of change for the world of amateur athletics, the NCAA formally adopted an interim policy to allow college athletes to benefit from their names, images and likenesses, effective Thursday.

The rule change means college athletes will be allowed to leverage their names and images to earn money or gifts through business arrangements, including product endorsements or trademarks.

The NCAA Division I Council voted to support the policy Monday, and the Division I Board of Directors voted in favor of that recommendation on Wednesday.

The college sports governing body was pressured into action as states around the country began to adopt their own NIL laws. Twenty states have passed NIL legislation so far, with laws in seven states scheduled to go into effect Thursday.

“With the variety of state laws adopted across the country, we will continue to work with Congress to develop a solution that will provide clarity on a national level,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement. “The current environment — both legal and legislative — prevents us from providing a more permanent solution and the level of detail student-athletes deserve.”

Until recently, the NCAA fought against the idea of “student-athletes” earning monetary compensation in any way — whether paid directly for their work in their respective sports or through other modes of profit like selling autographs.

The NCAA continues to oppose “pay for play,” but has now outlined permissible ways for athletes to earn compensation under the new NIL rules. To avoid an unbalanced playing field between universities in states with NIL legislation and those in states without it, the NCAA’s policy allows students to profit off their names, images and likenesses regardless of which state they attend school.

College athletes are already putting business plans into motion. Wisconsin starting quarterback Graham Mertz revealed a personal trademark this week, which he plans to use for the sale of clothing.

–Field Level Media

Dec 25, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk (71) in the second half against the Minnesota Vikings at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Saints sign All-Pro RT Ryan Ramczyk to $96M extension

The New Orleans Saints and Ryan Ramczyk have agreed to a five-year, $96 million extension, making the All-Pro the highest-paid right tackle in football, ESPN and NFL Network reported Wednesday.

The deal includes $60 million in guaranteed money, per the reports.

Ramczyk, 27, has played in — and started — every game but one since the Saints selected him with the 32nd overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Saints pulled their starters for the 2018 season finale, accounting for the only game Ramczyk has missed.

He made first team All-Pro after the 2019 season and second team in 2018 and 2020.

Ramczyk’s total contract value eclipses the previous high of $72 million earned by Philadelphia Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson, per Spotrac.

–Field Level Media

Nov 29, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA;  New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) talks with a member of the Arizona Cardinals prior to the start of the game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore expresses contract frustration with tweet

New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore wants to be paid like one of the best defensive backs in the NFL.

He said as much Tuesday with one two-word tweet.

CBS Sports tweeted a list of the 10 highest-paid defensive backs in the league, which now appears to have been deleted. Gilmore, who did not crack the list, quote-tweeted the list with the succinct message, “Oh ok.”

Gilmore, 30, skipped the Patriots’ mandatory minicamp as he seeks a new deal. He is scheduled to make $7 million in base salary in 2021, the final year of his current contract. The Athletic reported that the Patriots and Gilmore have not made much progress on a new agreement.

Gilmore was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2018 and 2019, won 2019 Defensive Player of the Year and made the Pro Bowl in four of the last five seasons.

In nine seasons with the Buffalo Bills (2012-16) and Patriots (2017-20), Gilmore has started 122 of 124 games and recorded 25 interceptions, two of them returned for touchdowns. He also has forced six fumbles and recovered three.

–Field Level Media

Apr 29, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; An Indianapolis Colts fan pose for a picture before the 2021 NFL Draft at First Energy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Colts become final NFL team approved for full capacity in 2021

All 32 NFL teams now have clearance to host crowds at full capacity for the 2021 season.

The Indianapolis Colts announced Tuesday they received approval from the Marion County Public Health Department to host games at 100 percent capacity for the upcoming season. Lucas Oil Stadium seats 63,000.

In May, NFL executive vice president Peter O’Reilly told reporters that 30 of the league’s 32 teams had received approval from state or local health authorities to return to full-capacity stadiums in the coming season, after the COVID-19 pandemic forced teams to restrict fan access to games in 2020. Some teams did not host fans at all in 2020, while others operated with a drastically reduced capacity.

The two teams that still needed approval were the Colts and the Denver Broncos. Denver announced earlier this month that it had been cleared for full capacity.

“We were fortunate to be able to host fans in 2020 through the pandemic, and those fans were as loud and proud as ever,” Colts owner and CEO Jim Irsay said in a statement. “But game days at Lucas Oil Stadium are like family reunions, and it wasn’t quite the same without our entire Colts family alongside us.”

–Field Level Media

Victims of Dr. Richard Strauss, Brian Garrett, right, listens as Stephen Snyder Hill holds a document from Student Health Services while testifying to the extent of their abuse during an Ohio State University Board of Trustees meeting at the Longaberger Alumni House on Nov. 16, 2018.

Mt Trustees Ac 10

Twenty-nine more men allege abuse by former Ohio State doctor

A lawsuit filed Monday against Ohio State in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio revealed that 29 new plaintiffs are alleging they were abused by Dr. Richard Strauss between the early 1980s and 2000.

An investigation in 2019 determined that Ohio State had knowledge of Strauss’ repeated sexual abuse of students and failed to act. At least 177 students were abused between 1979 and 1998, when Strauss retired from his position as a physician in the athletic department and the student health center.

The university has publicly apologized for Strauss’ actions and already settled with 185 plaintiffs for a total of about $47 million, according to reports.

One plaintiff in the newest suit alleged that Strauss abused him both as a minor and as an Ohio State student. He says it began when he was 16 during a high school wrestling tournament on Ohio State’s campus. He later attended the university and competed in both wrestling and football, and the abuse from Strauss allegedly continued.

Strauss died by suicide in 2005, and no one has come forward to publicly defend him since his victims began to come forward with their allegations.

–Field Level Media

Jun 9, 2021; Flowery Branch, Georgia, USA;  Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts (8) catches a pass during mandatory minicamp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Falcons sign No. 4 overall pick TE Kyle Pitts

The Atlanta Falcons signed first-round draft pick Kyle Pitts to a four-year rookie contract on Tuesday.

Pitts will receive a $32.9 million deal with a signing bonus of approximately $21 million, per the NFL Network. The Falcons will also have a fifth-year option on the former Florida tight end, selected with the fourth overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft.

The Falcons have signed all nine of their draft picks.

Pitts, 20, recorded 43 receptions for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns in eight games with the Gators last season. The 6-foot-6, 245-pound Pitts earned unanimous first-team All-America honors and the Mackey Award, presented to college football’s most outstanding tight end.

Pitts had 100 catches for 1,492 yards and 18 scores in 32 career games with Florida.

–Field Level Media

Arizona Cardinals defensive back Jalen Thompson warms up during practice at State Farm Stadium August 12, 2020. This was the first day of training camp.

Cardinals Training Camp

Report: NFL won’t conduct supplemental draft this year

The NFL will not hold a supplemental draft this year, NFL Network reported Tuesday.

This will be the second straight offseason that the league hasn’t held the draft. It was called off last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The supplemental draft allows players who didn’t declare for that year’s draft to allow teams to select them.

Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NFL is not obligated to hold a supplemental draft each year.

The supplemental draft runs seven rounds, and a team that picks a player surrenders a selection from the following year’s draft. The only player chosen in 2019 was Washington State safety Jalen Thompson by the Arizona Cardinals.

The draft has yielded some prizes through the years, however. Future Hall of Fame selection Cris Carter was selected in the fourth round by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1987, and quarterback Bernie Kosar was a first-round selection by the Cleveland Browns in 1985.

–Field Level Media

Apr 17, 2021; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA;  LSU Tigers offensive tackle Dare Rosenthal (51) and LSU Tigers wide receiver Kayshon Boutte (1) pose for the camera on a time out during the first half of the annual Purple and White spring game at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

LSU LT Dare Rosenthal enters transfer portal

LSU starting left tackle Dare Rosenthal is in the NCAA transfer portal, Tigers coach Ed Orgeron confirmed Tuesday.

“He had some personal situations that he had to take care of,” Orgeron told ESPN. “It was a hard decision, but we wish him the best. We’re going to miss him.”

The 6-foot-7, 327-pound lineman struggled to stay on the field during his three seasons on campus.

A four-star recruit in the Class of 2018, Rosenthal played in five games (three starts) as a redshirt freshman for the Tigers’ undefeated national championship team in 2019.

After briefly leaving school for personal reasons and missing spring practice in 2020, he returned and started two games before being indefinitely suspended in October. Rosenthal was reinstated and started three more games.

Sophomore Cameron Wire, who started in Rosenthal’s absence in 2020, is expected to take over as the starting left tackle.

LSU opens the season on Sept. 4 at UCLA.

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2020; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and his wife Tanya look on as head coach Ron Rivera speaks during his introductory press conference at Inova Sports Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Tanya Snyder named co-CEO of Washington Football Team

The Washington Football Team named Tanya Snyder as co-chief executive officer of the franchise on Tuesday.

Snyder will hold that title along with her husband Dan Snyder. They are also co-owners of the franchise.

She joins Amy Trask (Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders) and Kim Pegula (Buffalo Bills) among the female chief executives in NFL history.

Amy Adams Strunk assumed the role of controlling owner of the Tennessee Titans in March 2015 and serves as the co-chairman of the franchise’s board of directors.

“This team is our family’s legacy,” Tanya Snyder said in a statement. “We are at a pivotal point in the history of this team as we work to become the gold standard of NFL franchises. The co-CEO titles reflect our approach to that effort. It is a natural progression, but it’s important to formally recognize the diversity of opinion and perspective that informs everything we do. In my new role, I’ll be positioned to ensure the core values that are central to our philanthropy permeate the entire organization and bring us closer to realizing our goals.”

Tanya Snyder has headed the team’s philanthropic efforts since the couple purchased the team for $800 million in 1999. The franchise is now worth $3.5 billion and brings in roughly $500 million in annual revenue, according to Forbes.

She has led the Washington Football Charitable Foundation since 2000 and founded the “Women of Washington” fan club in 2011. A breast cancer survivor, Tanya Snyder also helped introduce the NFL’s “Think Pink” campaign in 1999.

“Tanya is one of the most important figures in this organization, and that has only become more true over the last 18 months as her involvement has deepened,” Dan Snyder said in a statement. “Publicly, many know Tanya for her incredible and impactful work in breast cancer awareness and her leadership of our charitable foundation. But behind the scenes, she has had a profound impact on the direction of the Washington Football Team. She was instrumental in our decision to evolve the brand and modernize our fan experience — including the entertainment team.”

–Field Level Media