New crowdfunding site wants you to pay players to stay in school

Graham Watson
Oregon's Marcus Mariota throws during the first half of the NCAA college football playoff championship game against Ohio State Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Oregon's Marcus Mariota throws during the first half of the NCAA college football playoff championship game against Ohio State Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

A new website is inviting college fans to pay their favorite players to stay in school.

Yes, you read that right.

Capitalizing on the crowdfunding fad that has been used for everything from medical bills to movie projects, FanAngel is a new site that allows fans to donate money to their favorite athlete in an effort to get them to stay for an extra year before turning pro.

Site creator Shawn Fojtik explained to ESPN.com how the whole thing works:

Fojtik said that when a fan commits a pledge to an athlete, that money is immediately taken out of the account. Eighty percent of the money will be held for that athlete if that athlete does choose to stay in school, 10 percent will be given to that athlete's teammates, and 10 percent will be earmarked for charity and scholarship funds. The money is given to the athlete when that athlete's eligibility expires.

FanAngel, Fojtik said, takes a 9 percent fee for organizing the transaction. If the athlete does not stay in school, the money will be refunded.

Forget the fact that all of those numbers add up to 109 percent, how is this OK with the NCAA? Well, Fojtik seems to have an answer for that, too.

"There's no acceptance on the athlete's part, and we aren't specifically promoting any athletes," he said. "We are using their name as anyone would as part of fair use."

Count us in the camp that thinks this sounds a little fishy and ripe for an NCAA rules committee audit. Are fans really going to be able to raise the millions of dollars needed to keep a player on campus for an extra year? Doubtful. And even if they did, would a player stay and risk getting injured? Probably not.

Sorry fans, college athletes might love you, but they’re not in love with you.

I am really curious how many fans out there would pay money out of their pocket to keep their favorite player on campus for an extra year with no guarantee of a real return? Both Marcus Mariota and Brett Hundley returned after last season and neither brought their team a national title. Would you have paid for that outcome?

So please, if this is something in which you would actually participate, drop me an email and explain your reasoning. I might use your email in an upcoming post. Because to me, this sounds absolutely ridiculous.

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at dr.saturday@ymail.com or follow her on Twitter!

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