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BCA: ESPN's Howard talks about NCAA, Denard Robinson

(UPDATE: We've posted a four-minute clip of audio that includes Howard's comments on Michigan's Denard Robinson.)


Heisman Trophy and Super Bowl MVP winner Desmond Howard, now a college football analyst for ESPN, was the keynote speaker Thursday morning at the Black Coaches and Administrators' annual convention in St. Petersburg. He spoke at length about the convention's main theme, "Back to the Basics," reminding coaches of the core values they can impart to their athletes, but also had an amusing assortment of observations, especially during the Q&A session that followed. Some highlights ...

-- On whether schools should be able to profit from sales of merchandise relating to a specific player: "My fight is that if you use my likeness, I should be compensated. If you sell a jersey with my number or my name on the back, I should be compensated. I think it's wicked that you have 17- and 18-year-old kids sign scholarships that give their rights to the NCAA far beyond their playing days. Really? You have to sign a contract that has language in it like 'perpetuity.' I saw that. My wife's an attorney and I had to look at her and say 'Baby, what's perpetuity?' She said 'That means for beyond forever.' I said 'You people are cool with this?' That's wicked to me."

"You're telling me, I might be 45 years old, you have a kid, times are terrible, and your university can still sell your likeness, your picture to a video game, still sell your jersey and you can't get a dime? And you're struggling, you have children to feed. And you're cool with this? Y'all crazy as hell. You control my likeness. I think I sent a tweet out that it's damn near like indentured servitude. You control my likeness forever. How did we sign a deal where you get something forever and I get something on a year-to-year basis? If I want to go get my Ph.D. from Michigan, you should pay for it. You should be committed to my education for the rest of my life if you've got my life."

-- On the feelings of entitlement by today's athletes: "Michigan fires Coach Rich Rodriguez. All the noise in Ann Arbor is 'Is Denard Robinson going to stay or leave?' I'm like 'Hey, if the kid wants to go, don't let the door hit you on the way out.' You looked fantastic for five games against nobody. That's what you did. I'm not going to deny his talents, but you ain't won nothing in Ann Arbor, son! Not so much we need to worry about if you're going to be here next year or not. If you don't want to be here, don't let the door hit you on your way out. ... I didn't shout 'Oh, is Denard going to leave? Is Denard going to leave? Is Denard going to stay?' We're going to be Michigan without Denard. It's that mentality now that these programs need these players, need this guy. Totally different mindset from when I was  growing up."

-- On comparing NCAA President Mark Emmert, in attendance, to President Obama: "He's pretty much like the Obama of NCAA football. He's coming in, in my opinion, at probably the worst time in the history of college sports. And he has to solve it, just like Pres. Obama came in at pretty much the worst time after that other clown got out of office. You may be Republicans, but I say he was still a clown."

-- On his early days with the Washington Redskins: "After Joe Gibbs retired, the Redskins went downhill fast. The defensive coordinator was Richie Petitbon, and he became head coach. Awful situation. Awful. It is what it is. Some people are meant to be coordinators. Some people are meant to be head coaches. Know your position. Stay in your lane."

-- On why he doesn't mind the BCS system and isn't lobbying hard for a playoff: "If you provide me with a formula for a playoff system that answers all the criticisms of the BCS, then I'm for it. I've yet to see that formula. One of the greatest criticisms of the BCS is that the selection process is wrong. People complain about the selection process for the Final Four. We keep adding, adding teams because people keep complaining."

-- On how he knew he had found fame when he saw his own name unscrambled on the "scramble board" from the TV show "Soul Train."

"I was watching them put the name together ... they started to put the name up there, the D, the E, the S," Howard said. "I thought, 'My name is on the scramble board on Soul Train! I made it! I made it!'"

[Last modified: Friday, May 27, 2011 8:00pm]


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