Tim Tebow: How Much is the Florida Gator Worth?

tebows eyeblackContributor IAugust 24, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 15:  Football player Tim Tebow arrives at the 2009 ESPY Awards held at Nokia Theatre LA Live on July 15, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. The 17th annual ESPYs will air on Sunday, July 19 at 9PM ET on ESPN.  (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

The Independent Florida Alligator has a great piece discussing how much money everyone, but Tim Tebow, is making off Tim Tebow. The piece also raises that never ending discussion of whether student athletes should be paid. But look at these numbers:

The UF Bookstore, located on campus, sold around 2,000 of Tebow’s No. 15 jerseys last year. That’s a rate of 166 per month, ranging in price from $75 to $150.

A search on ebay.com for “Tim Tebow” nets 393 results, ranging from 99-cent football cards to an autographed jersey up for $515.15.

At The Perfect Gift, a shop located in Haile Village, a painting titled “Lord of The Swamp” that featured Tebow running through the Oklahoma defense with Bible verses placed all over him was on the market for $6,500. At the Haile Village Art Fair outside the store last spring, more paintings, sketches and even jewelry bearing Tebow’s likeness or jersey number were for sale.

His image has sold magazines, newspapers, highlight videos, and T-shirts. His play on the field has sold tickets and earned UF millions for playing in high-profile bowl games.

And as Howard points out, a 10-year-old Tebow family Christmas card went for $50 online last fall.

It can also be argued that Tebow landed Dan Mullen a head coaching job at MSU and Urban Meyer his $24 million contract. But, that's another story.

We realize that Tebow is a once in a generation QB, perhaps even once in a lifetime, but what makes his case even more dramatic from years and players past is the presence of the internet and the ability to sell, sell, sell.

In many ways, Tebow defies description as a QB, but he has even more so challenged NCAA rules and regulations on what a player can and cannot do in the sphere of charitable activities.

Tebow and his family, with the assistance of the UAA, challenged and worked with the NCAA to clarify rules that would allow him to help fund raise for causes close to his family and his heart, so long as his family did not benefit directly.

Due to NCAA rules, Tebow is prevented from benefiting financially as a result of his status as an athlete. He even has to jump through hoops just to do charity work.

In the week leading up to UF’s spring football game, Tebow participated in charity events that raised around $300,000 for the children’s hospital at Shands at UF and an orphanage in the Philippines.

Tebow was only allowed to help after months of dialogue with the NCAA to ensure that Tebow, his family and his father’s ministry, the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association, would not benefit.

“I don’t really care about getting paid, but sometimes I do wish I could do more charity work and help out with stuff like that,” Tebow said.

The clarification of the NCAA rules, and the ability to provide for the orphanage and Shands' children's center is cited as being one of the main reasons Tebow decided to return for his senior year.

It is well known that Tebow has been the inspiration for several home schooling bills, known as the Tim Tebow Bill, in both Kentucky and Alabama, which would allow home schooled students to play sports on public school teams.

But could his next act of social change be getting pay, or some kind of compensation, for college athletes? A UF professor has a plan, if Tebow is willing to execute it.

After the 2007 Heisman Trophy presentation, Professor Rick Karcher, who heads the Center for Law and Sports at the Florida Coastal School of Law, sent Tebow a letter congratulating him on the win.

The letter also urged Tebow to sue the commercial entities profiting from his identity, which would not cause a loss of eligibility. If Tebow were to be awarded damages, Karcher wrote, it would be too late for the NCAA to punish him.

“But by the time you receive that judgment, you will have already exhausted your eligibility,” Karcher wrote in the letter, which he later published on the Internet. “Your lawsuit could be the impetus for the NCAA to begin negotiating with its licensees for an annual royalty to be held in trust for the benefit of collegiate athletes in the future, without destroying their eligibility.”

Karcher’s idea was that Tebow could do for college sports what Curt Flood did for free agency in baseball. But the debate about paying student-athletes is long and twisted, with legal issues, gender equality, economics, and the spirit of amateurism all playing a role.

We aren't advocating for athletes being paid at the college level, but we would strongly advocate that they get stipends, that they be able to raise money for charities of his choice, and that they receive a portion of all jersey sales upon graduation, and not if they leave early.

As Tebow begins his last season as a college football player, all eyes seem to be watching to see how much his NFL draft stock will rise or fall. The best bet may be to invest in Tebow Inc. instead.

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