I spent part of Wednesday providing (hopefully) a little insight to a few major media outlets who are continuing to look for new angles on what ESPN reported is an investigation of autographs signed by Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. Georgia running back Todd Gurley has already been suspended over a similar accusation of college athletes receiving cash for autographs, which would be a violation of NCAA rules.
It’s more of an NCAA story than a sports memorabilia story since college athlete autographs aren’t really a new thing and few are as popular as their pro counterparts. However, the industry as a whole is getting a lot of attention because of the authentication end of the saga.
The Palm Beach Post ran a story indicating it was possible that a group of people working for the same dealer may have gotten dozens of Winston autographs without the player having been paid. ESPN is sticking by its story that the dozens Todd Gurley autographs likely came from one source, a statement corroborated by James Spence, whose company authenticated the items and often sees bulk submissions of one player.
USA Today ran a story in which several of us connected with the industry discussed whether Spence and other authenticators should be responsible in any way (my take is ‘no’).
I spoke with Antonieta Collins of ESPN’s Mint Condition about the whole ordeal including the market for college player autographs and whether schools might soon restrict access to them.
Even Outside the Lines, their magazine show, was airing a lengthy report Wednesday night.
It seems pretty silly but the money at stake for the schools whose players are being looked at is huge. In the end it’s up to the athlete to just say no until the time comes when they can be paid without fear of repercussion.
One thing is for sure: Spence’s authentication business has gotten more free publicity over the whole thing than a company could ever dream of.
Don’t look for Gordie Howe to make any more personal autograph appearances.
According to Frozen Pond, which handled many of them over the last several years, the Hockey Hall of Famer’s health is a concern and his family and caregivers believe a stable environment with no travel would be better for the 86-year-old Howe.
ESPN NFL analyst and Super Bowl XXXV champion Trent Dilfer will serve as special ambassador and coach for the company’s Super Bowl XLIX Kid Reporter contest.
Now in its second year, the Panini Super Bowl Kid Reporter contest awards one young collector with a trip to the Super Bowl and the opportunity to serve as Panini America’s official reporter for Super Bowl Media Day. This year, in addition to the promoting the contest throughout the 2014 NFL season, Dilfer will provide the winner with one-on-one media training in advance of Super Bowl XLIX Media Day.
“I love what Panini America has done with the Super Bowl Kid Reporter promotion and am honored to be involved in such a meaningful way this year,” Dilfer said. “This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for one lucky kid and his family – and it’s an opportunity that’s made available just by buying packs of Panini America NFL trading cards.”
Panini Super Bowl Kid Reporter entry cards are inserted into every pack of the company’s 2014 Score, 2014 Rookies & Stars, 2014 Prizm, 2014 Absolute and 2014 Contenders NFL trading card products. You can enter the contest by entering the promotional code found on each entry card at the Panini Super Bowl Kid Reporter website (http://www.paninikidreporter.com/).
In addition to the grand prize, Panini America awards more than 350 additional prizes throughout the course of the Panini Super Bowl Kid Reporter contest.