Connect with us

Football

Topps to Launch Kentucky and Other School’s Trading Cards

Published

on

For good or bad, NIL has changed the landscape of college athletics and has created the ability for some cool things to happen, one of which was announced on Thursday morning.

Fanatics, who acquired leading trading card company Topps, earlier this year for $500 million, has announced that they will be launching a line of trading cards this fall that will feature collegiate athletes with their school logos for the first time ever. Whereas previously, school logos had to be airbrushed out.

The program will include more than 150 schools featuring both current and former athletes, including over 200 deals with current student-athletes at those schools. Fortunately, Kentucky is one of them.

Advertisement

“We are excited that Kentucky student-athletes are a part of this exclusive new program with Topps and Fanatics which allows fans to collect official trading cards of their favorite current UK Wildcat athletes for the first time,” Jason Schlafer, University of Kentucky’s executive associate athletic director, told CNBC.

As for further details about the terms of the deals with the schools, they were not disclosed but most of the athletes at those schools will not get money. However, individual student-athletes with their own deals will be paid, with compensation varying based on their position, their public profile, and draft projections.

With the reignited interest in trading cards, I would expect these to be difficult to buy when they are released, so be prepared.

Are you guys ready to get your Oscar Tshiebwe and Will Levis cards?

Advertisement

Football

Journalist Names Wan’Dale Robinson A Player Who Will Disappoint Next Season

Published

on

New York Football Giants

Despite only being at Kentucky for one season, Wan’Dale Robinson put together the greatest receiving season in program history. Robinson set single-season records for receiving yards (1,334) and receptions (104), helping him become an All-American and All-SEC selection.

Combining his historical season with his elite athleticism, Robinson was selected by the New York Giants in the second round of the NFL draft, being the first Wildcat off the board.

However, not everybody is sold, including Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report, who had this to say about Robinson.

Advertisement

Second-round receiver Wan’Dale Robinson, though, may be a couple of years away from being a star.

New York obviously liked the Kentucky product enough to take him 43rd overall, and the skilled but undersized (5’8″, 178 lbs) receiver could eventually become a fixture in the slot. However, Robinson faces a lot of competition for playing time, as the Giants have Sterling Shepard, Kenny Golladay, Darius Slayton, and 2021 first-round pick Kadarius Toney at receiver.

The Giants are also coming off a season in which they ranked 31st in both yards and scoring. While the hiring of coach Brian Daboll should help the offense improve, it’s not going to be an instant fix.

Yes, Daboll oversaw a potent Buffalo Bills offense last season, but that unit had loads of talent and a dynamic quarterback in Josh Allen. Daboll’s track record with more mediocre offenses is far less impressive.

The 2021 Bills ranked fifth in total offense with Allen leading the charge. In Daboll’s three previous offensive coordinator stops—with the 2010 Browns, 2011 Dolphins, and 2012 Chiefs—his offenses ranked 29th, 22nd, and 24th, respectively. Daniel Jones is not Allen, and New York should expect a more middle-of-the-pack offense than an elite one.

Advertisement

It’s going to take time for the Giants offense to really come together. It’s going to take time for Robinson to carve out a significant role. It all adds up to an underwhelming rookie campaign for New York’s second-round selection

Knox isn’t the only person with this opinion, with the general consensus being that Robinson was overdrafted due to his small stature. But what does he have? “Wan’Dale’s got the things you can’t measure. Everyone gets so enamored with the testing numbers and the size and the speed and weight and all this kind of stuff,” Robinson’s high school trainer, Chris Vaughn, said.

Associate head coach Vince Marrow is advising the critics not to doubt Robinson either, citing his body of work against the highest level of college football.

“When I heard people say he was drafted too high, have you seen the league we play in?… Did you see what this kid did week in and week out against Georgia, against LSU, against South Carolina?… It’s the closest league to the NFL, and he dominated that league,” Marrow said.

Advertisement

We will see who is right next season, but my money is Robinson, who has thrived off being underestimated for a large part of his life.

Continue Reading

Football

Will Levis Gives Fellow Quarterback Tom Brady Some Pointers

Published

on

Instagram/Will Levis

Following a 10-win season in his first as a Kentucky Wildcat, Levis is poised to have one of the best seasons in program history. Before the season even starts, NFL draft boards have Levis pegged as a first-round draft pick and one of the best quarterbacks available.

With that said, on Wednesday, Levis gave some pointers to a former sixth-round pick, Tom Brady.

Levis met Brady after Capital One’s “The Match”, which featured Brady and Aaron Rodgers facing Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen in a golf match at the Wynn Golf Course in Las Vegas, in which Brady and Rodgers came out on top by one shot – because there is nothing Tom Brady can’t win at.

In all seriouesness, it is cool to see Kentucky’s quarterback interact with the greatest quarterback of all time, and maybe even pick his brain a little bit to help the Wildcats get to SEC Championship this season.

Advertisement

Continue Reading

Football

John Calipari and Mark Stoops Validated, College Leaders Calling For Retroactive NIL Punishments

Published

on

UK Athletics/Britney Howard

Due to the lack of guidelines, name, image, and likeness has seemingly transformed college athletics into “pay for play”, and in certain ways, can be compared to free agency in professional sports.

Just recently, there have been situations such as Miami basketball star Isaiah Wong providing an ultimatum of a transfer after demanding more NIL compensation, a multi-million dollar bidding war for Pittsburgh star wide receiver Jordan Addison, and a Tennessee football quarterback commit who has an $8 million dollar NIL deal awaiting.

These athletes aren’t to blame, they are just playing by and trying to capitalize on NIL, using the rules that have been given.

Advertisement

In the past week, both John Calipari and Mark Stoops have reiterated their support for NIL. However, they have cited that they will choose to do it the right and legal way, while criticizing the NIL collectives that have been formed to practically create the best teams that their money can buy.

These comments were responded with many fans calling for Calipari and Stoops to recruit in the same fashion as schools with large collectives, but it looks like they will be on the right side of college athletic history.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger, college leaders are pushing the NCAA to investigate recruiting violations dating back to the start of NIL and create guidelines going forward.

As the current rules are written, the NCAA rules state that boosters are not allowed to pay players directly or be part of a university’s recruiting process. However, the majority of these collectives are spearheaded by intelligent people that are skirting vague NCAA guidelines, with many protected by state laws, and in some areas with legislation being created to empower such behavior.

Advertisement

While it may take months or even years to investigate recruiting violations, as indicated by past and current investigations, the NCAA is reportedly in the process of finalizing NIL guidelines which are expected to be published next week.

Passing the guidelines is one step, but the NCAA must enforce them, which could be proven to be a challenge. In the past, NCAA enforcement has been less than willing to enforce existing rules, and the organization may not be equipped to do so after laying off 15-20 employees due to COVID.

Despite the guidelines being confirmed to be written, there is still a lot of uncertainty on what the results will be. On a positive note, it looks the NCAA and the college leaders are on the same page, which is promising when it comes to the regulation of NIL.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Trending