For any collegiate football players who plan to participate in one of the season’s many bowl games, consider the following:
1. in 1937, the Pitt football team voted not to go to the bowl game which the athletic department had scheduled for them. The team wanted advance payment (about $3,000, in today’s dollars), and the bowl and athletic department refused. So they didn’t go.
2. Doing that now is too complicated. (It should be done, it’s just too hard to get there.) But you have a simple remedy, especially if you are a senior, or ‘final-year’ player.
3. Keep precise track of all your hours invested, as a part of the bowl ‘trip’ and game. Include notes about travel time, whether on a plane, or travelling to sites around the bowl-area. Anything and everything you do. KEEP TRACK OF EVERY HOUR.
4. Download and keep all memos or written instructions, from the school’s athletic department, coaches, or the bowl, having anything to do with your expected duties, schedule, and arrangements.
Bowls Games are Cruise Ships, Only on Land
There are a number of reasons. Bowls games are Cruise Ships, only on land. And bowl game operators are like cruise ship owner/operators: they hire all the help and entertainment for the football-ship, and then they walk away with big bucks. And you, dear player, are the entertainment. The head of the College Football Bowl Association, apparently one of the greater fluffernutters in a so-called ‘industry’ of fluffernutters, makes more than $200,000 for doing very little. Many of the bowl game CEOs are paid more than $1 million. And, oftentimes, your school is killing it, too. And your labor, dear player, is funding all of this bloat.
And they line you players up for all kinds of duties. There is always a charity event which mandates that the players all show up with either poor kids, or disabled kids, with alot of photographers around. This is all just pandering to the press, to build the bowl game’s name and brand. ‘Appearances,’ they make you do. Some give you a trip to a mall. Treating you like pubescent summer campers, they all give you a little swag.
Here’s the rub: Let’s say you’re a senior or ‘final-year’ player. Maybe you’re someone who is planning to leave school in January (or has already finished.) So you’re no longer a student, and maybe weren’t a student when you played in the bowl game. Or maybe you plan to stay in school for a final, spring semester. Either way, your football career at the school, under the thumb of NCAA, is done. (Any player, senior or otherwise, can send this letter, and make this claim, for services rendered, it’s just that, if you are an underclassman who intends to return to play the following year, the NCAA and the coaches will start endlessly flogging your backside with that thick NCAA Manual.)
Send a Letter Which Contains a Claim for Services Rendered
Basically, when you’re at the bowl game, you’re just a guy, doing stuff — for hire — in a setting where everyone else gets paid for doing stuff, for hire.
So sometime after the game (it doesn’t have to be right away, but it can), file a written claim, in simple letter form. Summarize your services rendered (based upon your careful notes). If you want, attach the documents you’ve collected, which show all your bowl-related assignments. (You don’t have to, you can do it later.) Put it in the mail, certified mail, to the Bowl Game CEO.
What’s your claim? You don’t really need to know too much, and I’m not going to bore you too much. It’s Quantum Meruit or Unjust Enrichment. Both are, more or less, actions for the value of services rendered, and they vary by state. Services you rendered for the Bowl Game Cruise-Ship Operator. Quantum Meruit can be based upon a contract, and sometimes requires a (pre-performance) expectation of payment — so the Bowl guys will all say there never was any such expectation, no contract, whatever. Don’t worry about that — that’s down the road. Unjust Enrichment generally doesn’t require that expectation; you’re just saying that somebody got unjustly rich — because it sure wasn’t you, even though you did alot of work. Don’t worry about the details. Your letter doesn’t need any fancy words.
Just Say This: I am Demanding Reasonable Payment for My Services Rendered
Just say you want reasonable payment for services rendered, and here’s a list of what I did for services. And say that if you don’t hear back within 30 days, you’ll take other action. Don’t worry about the amount now, it might be hourly payment (based, for example, upon market-based standards set in the NFL or elsewhere.) Just say you want reasonable payment for services rendered.
It’ll rock ’em. And, believe me, these bowl game cruise ship guys are all just the kind of flim-flam artists who need a hard hit. A bowl game ain’t no amateurism: it’s a cruise ship.