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College Football’s Next Big Money Grab

by on September 20, 2018 5:00 AM

Depending on your opinion, the passing out of turnover rewards on the sideline is either really entertaining or an annoying trend teaching young men the hollowness of self-aggrandizement. Like it or not, the “Turnover Trinket” idea has spread far and wide and television production crews eat it up.

According to ESPN reporter Holly Rowe, Alabama claims to have started it by giving a boxing/pro wrestling-type title belt to the player who got the ball. Miami created a tacky “Turnover Chain,” a thick gold necklace adorned with a gaudy Miami “U” logo (the "U" has been replaced on this season's chain with mascot Sebastian the Ibis). This year has brought us more turnover chains, thrones, crowns, backpacks and belts.

There may be no real way to prove who initiated the idea. Can we really be sure that the “Wheaton Ice Man” Red Grange didn’t get a turnover ice pick when he was playing for Illinois in the 1920s? The celebration would’ve been short-lived given that players then had to play offense and defense, so that probably stifled that idea.

It is hard to imagine Amos Alonzo Stagg, Walter Camp, Knute Rockne or Paul Bryant feeling it necessary to give out turnover trinkets for individual recognition in a team sport. The defensive back may have made the interception but what about the defensive tackle that pressured the quarterback into throwing it? Couldn’t that celebration time be better spent talking about adjustments between series?

All that aside, let’s salute the team whose Turnover Trinket cuts down all others while elevating theirs to a whole new level. The Oregon State Beavers from the great Pacific Northwest took a cue from their mascot, which, of course, gnaws down trees and build dams. They took Miami’s Turnover Chain and created a Turnover Chainsaw. Yes they have an actual chainsaw on the sideline. No word as to whether or not it is gassed up and ready to go. Did that chainsaw fit in the one gallon clear plastic bag we all must have to clear stadium security?

But what comes next? Somewhere athletic directors and brand managers are asking the most important question: How can we monetize these celebrations? How can we once again use our players’ images holding up some product to make more money for our salaries?

Let’s help the ADs at some of these schools with our very own list and promo slogan for radio and TV broadcasts.

1. Oregon State Beavers: “The Oregon State Husqvarna Turnover Chainsaw: Husqvarna saws have been chopping down the competition for decades.”

2. Miami Hurricanes: “The Kay Jewelers Miami Turnover Chain: Kay Jewelers reminds you that every pick it ends with Kay.”

3. West Virginia Mountaineers: “The Remington Turnover Rifle: Your best defense in turning back offensive invaders since 1816.”

4. Michigan State Spartans: “The Lifelock Spartan Turnover Shield: Lifelock is your shield to turn away online identity theft.”

5. Toledo Rockets: “The Rocket Mortgage Turnover Rocket: Rocket Mortgage is your key to turning over the house you want.”

6. Penn State Nittany Lions: “The Sheetz Turnover Hoagie: Feed your hunger for the ball with an MTO from Sheetz.”

7. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish: “The Guinness Turnover Pint Glass: Guinness reminds you to raise a pint to toast that turnover.”

8. The Liberty University Flames: “The Zippo Turnover Lighter: Let Zippo spark the fire in your soul.”

9. The Washington Huskies: “The Milk Bones Turnover Bone: Milk Bones are what every dawg wants for fetching the ball.”

10. The Idaho Vandals: “The Krylon Turnover Spray Paint Can: The Vandals use Krylon to tag their opponents…you should too.”

11. The USC Trojans: … never mind.

12. The Michigan Wolverines: “The Wolverine Turnover Work Boot: When it gets dirty and tough, Wolverine work boots turn the field to your favor.”

13. The Vanderbilt Commodores: “The Turnover Afro” no sponsor here—it would just be nice to have Vanderbilt players don a wig to salute the fabulous ‘fros worn by Lionel Richie and the rest of the Commodores.

14. The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors: “The Skittles Turnover Conch Horn: Toot this turnover horn with Skittles, who remind you to taste the rainbow.”

15. The Penn Quakers: “The Quaker Turnover Oatmeal Bowl: Quaker reminds you that a high-fiber diet helps you turnover your system on a regular basis.”

16. Texas Tech Red Raiders: “The Smith and Wesson Turnover Six-Gun: In Lubbock, when we say “Guns Up,” we mean Smith and Wesson, and we mean it”

It sounds outrageous, but given broadcast sponsorships like the Heinz Red Zone or the UPMC Injury Update is it really that hard to imagine? Knowing how college athletics monetizes things that were off limits years ago, don’t be surprised.


State College native and Penn State graduate Jay Paterno is a father, husband and political volunteer. He’s a frequent guest lecturer on campus and at Penn State events and was the longtime quarterbacks coach for the Nittany Lions. His column appears every other Thursday. Follow him on Twitter at
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