Some infamous cases of extra benefits
Extra benefits have been a part of college football for almost as long as there has been college football. Here are some of the more infamous cases:
1892: Pudge Heffelfinger, a former three-time All-American at Yale (1889-1891), is paid $25 in expenses and a $500 bonus to play for the Allegheny Athletic Association against their rivals, the Pittsburgh Athletic Club. Heffelfinger was actually a member of the Chicago Athletic Association team which, like the above teams, was technically amateur. He is commonly referred to as the first “professional” football player.
1909-1910: Jim Thorpe, who would later be a first-team All-American in 1911 and 1912, plays professional baseball in the Eastern Carolina League. Explaining his actions later to the Amateur Athletic Union, Thorpe writes, “I did not know that I was doing wrong, because I was doing what I know several other college men had done, except that they did not use their own names.”
1920: George Gipp accounts for 480 total yards as Notre Dame surprises unbeaten Army 27-17. The Gipper bet $500 on his team that day, according to Grantland Rice’s 1954 book, “The Tumult and the Shouting.” Former Notre Dame teammate Fred Larson said Gipp once told him he’d earned $5,000 in one year playing poker.
1983-1984: Linebacker David Stanley is paid $25,000 to sign with Southern Methodist University and then continues to receive monthly payments during his two seasons of playing with the Mustangs.
1986-1992: Rapper Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew reportedly pays game-day bounties to members of the Miami Hurricanes for such things as touchdowns or devastating hits. Campbell allegedly pays up to $500 for a touchdown.
1993: Eight Florida State football players have $6,000 worth of merchandise purchased for them by an unregistered agent at a sporting goods store. Then-Florida coach Steve Spurrier dubs FSU “Free Shoes University.”
2004-2005: USC tailback Reggie Bush, who would win the Heisman in 2005, accepts illegal gifts from marketing agents worth $290,000.
2011: Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor and four teammates are suspended five games for selling championship jerseys, rings and awards as well as receiving improper benefits in the form of tattoos. Later a friend of Pryor’s tells ESPN that the QB earned between $20,000 to $40,000 in his final year in Columbus for autographing memorabilia.