Oct 22

2023

Monday Morning Read

Big-time college jocks are starting to make major bucks. The numbers are kind of crazy. Ditto for Terry Pegula's growing fortune.

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A lot of folks agreed with the decision to allow college athletes to get paid for endorsement deals. But it’s quickly gotten out of hand. Market Watch reports on 10 athletes earning more than $1 million in endorsement deals, led by Bronny James, son of LeBron, who is pocketing an estimated $5.9 million even though he has yet to play a game for UCLA. Perhaps more troubling, as reported by The New York Times, is the practice of boosters ponying up to pay players.

Reports The Times:

The rapid rise of big-dollar payments to student-athletes from so-called donor collectives has emerged as one of the biggest issues in college sports, transforming how players are recruited and encouraging a form of free agency for those looking to transfer. And because many of the groups are set up as charities or with charitable arms that make donations tax-deductible, they are drawing scrutiny from the Internal Revenue Service …

The New York Times identified more than 120 collectives, including at least one for every school in each of the five major college football conferences. The average starter at a big-time football program now takes in about $103,000 a year, according to Opendorse, a company that processes payments to the players for the collectives. This year, Opendorse said it expects to process over $100 million in payments for athletes, with about 80 percent coming through collectives.

Terry Pegula bought the Buffalo Bills for $1.4 billion in 2014. The team is now valued at $3.7 billion and expected to increased to $6 billion in another five years. Meanwhile, last year, Forbes reported Pegula’s personal net worth had increased by $1 billion to $6.7 billion. And yet, taxpayers are forking over $850 million to build him a new football stadium.

Meanwhile, here’s what arena developers are doing elsewhere on their own dime:

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The Oishei Foundation made a dramatic announcement last week: it’s going to invest all its grants for the foreseeable future to address racial inequality in Buffalo. Finally, someone with big bucks is stepping up in the wake of the May 14 Tops Massacre. It certainly hasn’t been state or city government. Here’s a story and here’s the game plan.

In Jacksonville, Florida, where a white gunman killed three Black residents in August, some people are saying it’s time to address the racism that’s “baked into our culture.” It’s time we did likewise here in Buffalo.

How vulnerable in your neighborhood to climate change? Here’s a nifty map that allows you to zero in to the Census tract level. The potential impacts vary greatly across the nation, and even here in Western New York.

The immediate danger has passed – Jim Jordan lost three votes last week in his failed quest to be speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives  – but his track record as a lawmaker is still worth noting. Jordan hasn’t proposed a single bill in which he’s been the primary sponsor that’s passed the House during his 16 year tenure. None. Nada. Zip. Nick Langworthy, by the way, voted for Jordan.

Jon Stewart and Apple have parted ways. He has too much integrity for them.

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