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New coach Gus Malzahn embraces player Twitter-handle jerseys at spring game | Commentary

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On the first play from scrimmage, UCF quarterback @_dillongabriel completed a 5-yard pass to tight end @JakeHescock — and a new era of UCF football had begun.

I’m not just talking about the Gus Malzahn coaching era; I’m also talking about the name, image and likeness branding era.

That’s right, UCF’s players did not have their names on the backs of their jerseys during Saturday’s spring game, they had their Twitter handles.

Highlights and stars of the game:

@_dillongabriel: 17 of 22 for 191 yards and two TDs.

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@RyanOKeefe23: Six catches for 83 yards and a TD.

@Humble_Johnny: Seven carries for 68 yards and two catches for 70 yards.

“We’ve been saying that the future of college football is right here (at UCF),” @CoachGusMalzahn said afterward. “… This is a new age of personal branding. We’re going to embrace it.”

Actually, UCF and all other college football programs don’t really have a choice. They can either embrace players monetizing themselves or those players will simply go elsewhere. This is the new world of college football, where it’s not just about representing your school; it’s about maximizing your brand.

Kudos to @CoachGusMalzahn and new athletics director @TerryMohajirAD for getting a jump on the competition and using an otherwise meaningless spring game to send a message to players and recruits that the Knights are looking out for their best interests. It is unclear whether UCF will continue the practice in the fall, but the simple act of putting individual Twitter handles on jerseys during the spring game made @CoachGusMalzahn a hero among his new team.

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“Everybody was so excited when he did it,” @_dillongabriel said.

“Gus is big on building our brands and wants to help us set up the next part of our lives,” wide receiver @RyanOKeefe23 said.

Added linebacker @fvo56: “It shows that he cares about our lives after football.”

There was a mixed reaction among UCF fans on social media, but I’m guessing UCF’s younger fans loved it while the old-school fans probably hated it. Then again, it doesn’t really matter what we think because there’s no stopping the tidal wave of player monetization that is about to crash down upon on college football. And, quite frankly, when big-time institutions of higher earning like Auburn are wasting $21 million to buy out @CoachGusMalzahn and pay him not to coach, it’s hard to argue against players getting paid.

Even the Supreme Court is now taking shots at the NCAA. Several days ago, the high court heard arguments not on if athletes could profit from their name, image and likeness, but whether NCAA institutions can limit the education-related compensation for athletes. The NCAA defended its rules as necessary to preserve the amateur status of college sports, but Supreme Court justices, both conservative and liberal, were obviously sympathetic to the athletes who argued that schools should be able to offer them tens of thousands of dollars in education benefits for perks such as computers, graduate scholarships, tutoring, study abroad and internships.

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By the time the arguments were complete, the Supreme Court justices made their feelings on the NCAA clear. Justice Elena Kagan accused the schools of collusion and price fixing, saying, “Schools that are naturally competitors have all gotten together in an organization … to fix athletic salaries at extremely low levels.”

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Justice Brett Kavanaugh said, “Antitrust laws should not be a cover for exploitation of the student-athletes. It does seem schools are conspiring with competitors to pay no salaries for the workers who are making the schools billions of dollars.”

Of course, the Supreme Court’s arguments had nothing to do with name, image and likeness, but they do show how government officials are tired of the NCAA dragging its feet on allowing athletes to be compensated.

This is why the NCAA is scrambling to try to amend its rules to allow athletes to profit from their own fame. Several states have already passed such laws, including a Florida law that is scheduled to take effect July 1. This would allow star athletes such as UCF quarterback @_dillongabriel, one of the top returning QBs, in the country, to be compensated for personal appearances, autograph sessions, sponsorship deals and social media endorsements.

Which is why UCF and every other school in the country are in discussions to try and figure out how to help its athletes maximize their brand. The schools that figure it out first will have a huge recruiting advantage.

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Former UCF coach Scott Frost, now at Nebraska, has been ahead of the game on this issue. The Cornhuskers announced a year ago that they were partnering with a company called Opendorse to help Nebraska athletes build and monetize their social media followings.

“We believe social media is at the core of this next frontier for player development,” Frost said then in a statement released by the school. “There’s an opportunity for our players that transcends compensation today. We as coaches and leaders can provide our student-athletes the tools to maximize their future value while they’re competing for the University of Nebraska.”

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Frost’s message was clear: “Hey, all of you five-star recruits out there, if you sign with Nebraska we have somebody who is going to show you how to make more money than if you sign with Ohio State, Alabama or Oklahoma!!!”

UCF sent out a similar message to its recruits on Saturday. @CoachGusMalzahn wants current and future players to know he’s got their backs, not to mention the backs of their jerseys. He wants to continue to build UCF’s image as the young, cool school, speeding down the social media superhighway, passing up the stodgy old-school jalopies along the way.

“The new age of college football is here,” @CoachGusMalzahn says of his players branding themselves on Twitter and Instagram. “We have 322,000 living alumni with an average age of 36 and they’re all on Twitter. Some of these big schools, the average age of their alumni is 65 and they’re on Facebook.

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@CoachGusMalzahn laughs and adds,

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Elon Musk Says He’ll Pay $11 Billion in Taxes in 2021 But Twitter Wants ‘Proof’

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Elon Musk took to Twitter to clarify once and for all that he will be paying a whopping $11 billion as taxes this year.

If the number of times Elon Musk could count when someone has asked him to pay the full taxes, he would be a very rich..wait, never mind. The Tesla boss is rich beyond any private individual has been in history, reports said.

Musk has increasingly been facing criticism from many politicians and many others who insist he has not been paying taxes as compared to the profits his companies have been making. On Sunday, the SpaceX CEO took to Twitter to share that he will be paying a whopping $11 billion as taxes.

For those wondering, I will pay over $11 billion in taxes this year— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 20, 2021

But some of the questions did not stop. One person tweeted how they needed to see Musk’s tax returns while yet another asked how much percentage was that of his total income.

A few were, however scathing of the government who thought they will add that amount to their pockets rather than using it for some proper development.

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Wow that’s enough to give each person in the world almost $2 million but instead the government will just stick it in their pockets— greg (@greg16676935420) December 20, 2021

Why not $200 billion? Asking for a Senator— litquidity (@litcapital) December 20, 2021

Earlier this week, Democratic US Senator Elizabeth Warren has tweeted to say that Musk should pay taxes and stop “freeloading off everyone else” after Time magazine named him its “person of the year”.

In response, Musk shot four tweets in which he said that the senator reminded him of a friend’s angry mom who yelled at everybody. He tweeted, ““And if you opened your eyes for 2 seconds, you would realize I will pay more taxes than any American in history this year.” “Don’t spend it all at once … oh wait you did already.”

He added further, “You remind me of when I was a kid and my friend’s angry Mom would just randomly yell at everyone for no reason.”

Musk responded by saying that he “will pay more taxes than any American in history this year”. This Twitter exchange left netizens divided as even though many supported Warren and agreed that Musk should pay more taxes, others felt that he was already doing enough.

Musk’s Tesla is worth about $1 trillion. Over the last few weeks, he has sold nearly $14 billion worth of Tesla shares.

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The Tesla boss has been pushing for his colonize Mars agenda for years now, and has made it very clear in some occasions that he would rather spend the money on putting humanity on the red planet, than pay his taxes. “My plan,” the SpaceX founder tweeted about his fortune, “is to use the money to get humanity to Mars and preserve the light of consciousness.”

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Twitter Admits Policy ‘Errors’ After Far-Right Abuse Its New Rules of Posting Pictures

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Twitter’s new picture permission policy was aimed at combating online abuse, but US activists and researchers said Friday that far-right backers have employed it to protect themselves from scrutiny and to harass opponents.

Even the social network admitted the rollout of the rules, which say anyone can ask Twitter to take down images of themselves posted without their consent, was marred by malicious reports and its teams’ own errors.

It was just the kind of trouble anti-racism advocates worried was coming after the policy was announced this week.

Their concerns were quickly validated, with anti-extremism researcher Kristofer Goldsmith tweeting a screenshot of a far-right call-to-action circulating on Telegram: “Due to the new privacy policy at Twitter, things now unexpectedly work more in our favor.”

“Anyone with a Twitter account should be reporting doxxing posts from the following accounts,” the message said, with a list of dozens of Twitter handles.

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Gwen Snyder, an organizer and researcher in Philadelphia, said her account was blocked this week after a report to Twitter about a series of 2019 photos she said showed a local political candidate at a march organized by extreme-right group Proud Boys.

Rather than go through an appeal with Twitter she opted to delete the images and alert others to what was happening.

“Twitter moving to eliminate (my) work from their platform is incredibly dangerous and is going to enable and embolden fascists,” she told AFP.

In announcing the privacy policy on Tuesday, Twitter noted that “sharing personal media, such as images or videos, can potentially violate a person’s privacy, and may lead to emotional or physical harm.”

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But the rules don’t apply to “public figures or individuals when media and accompanying Tweets are shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse.”

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By Friday, Twitter noted the roll out had been rough: “We became aware of a significant amount of coordinated and malicious reports, and unfortunately, our enforcement teams made several errors.”

“We’ve corrected those errors and are undergoing an internal review to make certain that this policy is used as intended,” the firm added.

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Jack Dorsey Post Twitter Is Chasing His Crypto, Fintech Dream

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At a packed Miami conference in June, Jack Dorsey, mused in front of thousands of attendees about where his real passion lay: “If I weren’t at Square or Twitter, I’d be working on Bitcoin.”

On Monday, Dorsey made good on one part of that, announcing he would leave Twitter for the second time, handing the CEO position to a 10-year veteran at the firm. The 45-year-old entrepreneur, who is often described as an enigma with varied interests from meditation to yoga to fashion design, plans to pursue his passion which include focusing on running Square and doing more philanthropic work, according to a source familiar with his plan.

Well before the surprise news, Dorsey had laid the groundwork for his next chapter, seeding both companies with cryptocurrency-related projects.

Underlying Dorsey’s broader vision is the principle of “decentralisation,” or the idea that technology and finance should not be concentrated among a handful of gatekeepers, as it is now, but should, instead, be steered by the hands of the many, either people or entities.

The concept has played out at Square, which has built a division devoted to working on projects and awarding grants with the aim of growing Bitcoin’s popularity globally. Bitcoin price in India stood at Rs. 44.52 lakh as of 12:50pm IST on December 1.

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Dorsey has been a longtime proponent of Bitcoin, and the appeal is that the cryptocurrency will allow for private and secure transactions with the value of Bitcoin unrelated to any government.

The idea has also underpinned new projects at Twitter, where Dorsey tapped a top lieutenant – and now the company’s new CEO Parag Agrawal – to oversee a team that is attempting to construct a decentralised social media protocol, which will allow different social platforms to connect with one another, similar to the way email providers operate.

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The project called Bluesky will aim to allow users control over the types of content they see online, removing the “burden” on companies like Twitter to enforce a global policy to fight abuse or misleading information, Dorsey said in 2019 when he announced Bluesky.

Bitcoin has also figured prominently at both of his companies. Square became one of the first public companies to own Bitcoin assets on its balance sheet, having invested $220 million (roughly Rs. 1,650 crore) in the cryptocurrency.

In August, Square created a new business unit called TBD to focus on Bitcoin. The company is also planning to build a hardware wallet for Bitcoin, a Bitcoin mining system, as well as a decentralised Bitcoin exchange.

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Twitter allows users to tip their favourite content creators with Bitcoin and has been testing integrations with non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a type of digital asset that allows people to collect unique digital art.

Analysts see the transition as a positive signal for Square, the fintech platform he co-founded in 2009. Square’s core Cash App, after a bull run in its share in 2020, has experienced slower growth in the most recent quarter. It is also trying to digest the $29 billion (roughly Rs. 2,17,240 crore) acquisition of Buy Now Pay Later provider Afterpay, its largest acquisition ever.

But these ambitions will not pay off until years from now, analysts cautioned.

“The blockchain platform they’re trying to develop is great but also fraught with technical challenges and difficult to scale for consumers. I think he’ll focus more on Square and crypto will be part of that,” said Christopher Brendler, an analyst at DA Davidson.

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© Thomson Reuters 2021

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Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

Cryptocurrency is an unregulated digital currency, not a legal tender and subject to market risks. The information provided in the article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort offered or endorsed by NDTV. NDTV shall not be responsible for any loss arising from any investment based on any perceived recommendation, forecast or any other information contained in the article.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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