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Looks like “40 Yards of Gold” match race participants won’t be paid

Florida Football Insiders

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Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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It looks like the participants in the South Florida organized match race tournament “40 Yards of Gold” will end up with nothing but “lint” to show for their efforts.

This as The Athletic’s business reporter Daniel Kaplan, wrote Tuesday that the main investor in the 16-man NFL player match race that took place in Sunrise two weeks ago, is now claiming that he is owed money by the organizers:

Kaplan, further identified for the first time the 40 year old California entrepreneur, Farzin Morena, who has apparently not been repaid on any of the financing and loans he did for the event. And while Morena won’t say how much he gave the organizers, Kaplan has a separate source that says it’s at least seven figures that Morena is owed.

And, that spells “Doom” for the winner of the tournament, 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, and his hopes to get anywhere close to $1 million for winning the event.

As we wrote last week, Goodwin, who is a former All-American track star at the University of Texas and Olympic trials team member for the United States, easily bested the 16 participant field. And, he was supposed to have been paid the grand prize by the promoters.

However, the agent for another participant, Vikings WR Jeff Badet, said then, that his client had yet to be paid his $25,000 guaranteed appearance fee that had been contractually assured.

Badet’s agent told Kaplan at the time:

“The contract was explicitly clear,” Will Sarubbi said. “Jeff was an independent contractor who was promised $25,000 upon arrival, before the event on June 29. That has not been paid as of 5:00pm today. It does not look likely it will be, based on the correspondence we have had.”

Former NFL star receiver, including with the Dolphins, Chad Johnson was one of the organizers, helped promote the match race event and was also part of the $39.95 pay-per-view Saturday night broadcast. The event took place at the arena that’s home to the NHL’s Florida Panthers.

Johnson has had no public comment about whether he was paid anything by the “40 yards of Gold” organizers.

So, with it almost impossible that Goodwin will be paid $1,000,000 like had been billed in the ads and promised to the players, the only question is: will he and the others get something?

Morena, further told the Athletic that he only met the two organizers, including former Michigan football player Charles Stewart, in May and that he is not responsible to pay out the prize money,

“I am going to tell you right now, buddy, the only thing I had in this was to lend money and I was going to get it back,” Morena said. “It wasn’t laid out to me like, ‘OK, we need to pay for this, we need to pay for that.’ It was laid out to me, ‘Listen, we need this money and we will pay you back this much….. These guys are in over their heads.”

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Colts Kicker Adam Vinateri out for Bucs game

Abbey Radeka

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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The Colts are traveling to Tampa Bay but will likely take on the Bucs without their future Hall of Fame Kicker, Adam Vinatieri.

Before the matchup last week against the Titans, Vinatieri had began to experience a bit of pain in his left knee, the leg he plants to kick with his right leg. He told reporters that the pain began to increase through the week which led him to be placed on the Colt’s injury report for the first time this season.

Later Friday afternoon, Indy made Vinatieri’s “out” status official:

Vinatieri who is currently the NFL’s all-time leading scorer, has struggled to be consistent this season and has made a career-low 68% of his field goal attempts. He’s cost the Colt’s a couple of games in his missed eight field goals and six extra points.

Colts head coach Frank Reich said Wednesday that Vinatieri saw some doctors and got scans to figure out the severity of the problem. From there, they’ll consult with doctors and make a decision, which could potentially end his career. He’s currently sitting at 599 made FGs in his 24 seasons, just one shy of the 600 mark.

Earlier this week, Indianapolis secured rookie kicker Chase McLaughlin off waivers from the San Francisco 49ers and the 45 year old Pro Bowler had said on Thursday that if he got the go ahead from everyone, he’d take the field on Sunday.

“Docs and trainers and everybody will put their two cents in and we’ll see if we can go,” Vinatieri said. “If I can go, I’ll go.”

Obviously, he did not get good news, and that means the rookie McLaughlin is in to kick at Raymond James Stadium.

The Colts are looking to stay in the race for the AFC wild card spot, in a similar situation as the Bucs, so this Sunday (and really every Sunday from here on out) is a do or die for both teams.

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Florida follows California’s lead on paying college athletes

Matt Zemek

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
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California is blue. Florida is red. The two states now share the same outlook on college athletes gaining more green.

In late September, California’s Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, signed Senate Bill 206, allowing college athletes to profit from sales of their name, image and likeness, and to retain scholarships even while signing endorsement deals with companies and earning added income.

The legislation does not allow schools to directly pay athletes, but it does enable athletes to venture into commercial activity, effective in 2023. The NCAA has a few years, then, to adjust to the current reality. So far, it has opposed SB 206.

Would another state – especially a high-profile one with a large recruiting pool – follow California’s lead? Florida, though led by a Republican governor, has done just that.

On Thursday, as reported by Emily Mahoney of the Tampa Bay Times, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced his support of legislation to enable college athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness.

It is significant that a big recruiting-magnet state such as Florida joined California. It is also significant that a Republican governor expressed (rare) agreement with deep-blue California’s efforts, creating a bipartisan dimension to support for this particular policy.

DeSantis (above) said California is on “the right track” with its legislation. He said that if Florida’s legislature can pass this legislation, the NCAA might need “to reevaluate” its position on the matter.

“I’m confident those issues can be addressed in a way that will maintain college athletics as really special thing but also provide the ability for our student athletes to be able to benefit just like anybody else would be able to benefit,” DeSantis said.

The bipartisan nature of this effort in Florida was affirmed by the fact that Florida Representative Kionne McGhee, the state’s House Democratic minority leader, filed one of the bills DeSantis supports. Rep. McGhee appeared with DeSantis on Thursday in a public show of cross-party unity.

California is often seen as an example of what NOT to do by Republicans in particular and conservatives in general. Thursday’s news represents an exception to that reality.

It offers an interesting new plot twist in the way this larger set of issues is perceived in collegiate athletics.

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