Oliver Luck isn't just the father of Andrew Luck. He's the new second-in-command at the NCAA. And if he has his way, college players can look forward to a big payday in the near future.

The former West Virginia athletic director said last week that the reforms the NCAA has been fighting for years are exactly the changes he would like to see take place.

While Oliver Luck has made it clear his opinions weren't specifically addressed when he interviewed for his current position, he assumes the NCAA was well aware of his perspective. The executive has been very open in the past about the need to pay college athletes for some of the revenues they generate at schools.

"It"s more of a fundamental right," Luck said, according to The Wall Street Journal. "I'm looking forward to having a longer dialogue on this with (NCAA president Mark Emmert)."

But as far as action goes, the NCAA may wait to see how pending litigation plays out. Luck indicated that the issue may reach a federal court or the Supreme Court, in which case the decision-making process would be out of the NCAA's hands -- the organization would be told the minimum parameters it must abide by.

Already, the NCAA's ban on paying college athletes for use of their likenesses was ruled a violation of antitrust law by a federal judge. That opened the gates to increasing income opportunities for college students, and Luck was a supporter of that decision.

From the sounds of it, though, that's just the start of the changes that will be coming to the NCAA. It's just a matter of whether Luck helps drive the change, or whether the courts force it.

It hasn't been the smoothest transition into the public sphere for Jonathan Klinsmann, but he has no one else to blame but himself.

The 18-year-old son of U.S. men's soccer coach Jurgen Klinsmann received a red card in an international match against Germany this week, exiting the game in stoppage time as the Americans held on for a 2-1 win. Jonathan, the goalkeeper, was booted from the game after receiving his second yellow card on a foul play that awarded the Germans a penalty kick.

Kids make mistakes, sure. But it's fair to suggest Jonathan Klinsmann might not be the most delightful person you've never met. Long before he got kicked out of a largely inconsequential soccer game, young Jonathan faced the heat for openly mocking Landon Donovan after the star's omission from the World Cup roster this summer:

That's not a good look -- particularly for a young guy looking to climb the American soccer ladder Landon Donovan more or less built, and especially not from the kid of the guy that snubbed Donovan in less-than-glorious fashion.

Jonathan Klinsmann allegedly sent an email to Landon Donovan to apologize. But according to Alexi Lalas, it's not clear if Donovan ever made contact with the little jerk.

Someone should tell young Jonathan to respect his elders, and also inform him that the goalie is without question the worst person to have receive a red card in a match.

Preferably, that message will come from his father.

A rough season with the Jets has rattled Rex Ryan, apparently. The sailor-mouthed head coach has suddenly developed a distaste for unsavory language.

Ahead of Sunday 's game with the Patriots -- perhaps Ryan's last as head coach of the Jets against New England-- Ryan expressed disappointment at the cursing tirades by quarterback Tom Brady, which were recently captured on TV.

Ryan claims that the profane language disrupts his ability to evaluate the tape.

"I even take the TV copies of the games and I watch them, but to be honest with you, I couldn’t watch all of the game," Ryan said at a press conference. "I was offended by the language I saw. I was like, ‘Wow.’ I’m thinking, ‘Boy, that fine’s got to really be hefty because that’s one, two, three, four, five, of those bad boys I think.'"

Ryan's comments were surely made in jest, given the coach's own background with cursing. Most recently, the NFL hit him with a $100,000 fine for profanity the coach unloaded after his Jets beat the Steelers last month.

If anything, Ryan is likely upset that the NFL chose not to discipline Brady while the coach himself saw a lot of money taken from his wallet.

Of course, Ryan has a short memory when it comes to his own conduct. Asked whether he himself swears during games, Ryan played innocent.

"I don't think so," he said.

Well, this is weird: Apparently Santa Claus is a big Clemson football fan.

No, not just a fan -- an alum. He says so in a letter just sent out to Clemson football recruits.

In an odd, too-cutesy-to-be-entertaining move, Clemson decided to endear itself to potential recruits by sending a hand-written letter from Santa. In the letter, Santa shares his passion for Clemson football, his admiration for [INSERT RECRUIT NAME HERE], and his periodic conversations with Dabo Swinney.

"My old friend, Dabo Swinney, seems to be very interested in your status on the naughty or nice list," Santa writes. "Don't worry, I have let him know all of the good news concerning your recent accomplishments."

The rest of the letter is more of the same:

Maybe the most interesting detail is that Santa claims to have graduated in 1896 -- the same year as Clemson football's first season.

But the numbers raise some questions. Clemson was founded in 1893, meaning Santa graduated in just three years. It'd be interesting to know how that happened. Great results on his AP tests? Were the elves called in to do the dirty work and write his papers? Heaven forbid, was the administration paid off with toys?

Too bad he didn't stick around longer. A body like that, he could have fit in nicely at right guard.

Hamilton County has found an interesting and creative solution to what could have been a financial fiasco involving the Cincinnati Reds' stadium, Great American Ball Park.

Only 11 years old, Great American Ball Park needs some new seats because its current ones are decaying. In fact, the seats started decaying in 2008, only five years after the park opened. Their expected lifespan was 20 years.

To save some money, the county turned to a work re-entry program to find the labor to install the new seats. These laborers are former inmates who work for $10 an hour. Thanks in part to these ex-inmates, as well as a local design firm hired to create the new seats, the county is saving about $4 million on the project.

"It gives us an opportunity to be proud of something," Alonzo Franklin, who started out installing the seats and is now a supervisor, told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "It makes you feel good that you get to be part of something so big."

Even more encouraging for the former inmates is that they may be able to find long-term employment with Hamilton County or the Reds after the installation project is completed.

All told, the county is looking to have 39,000 new seats installed before Cincinnati hosts the MLB All-Star Game in July 2015. About 17,000 of the seats are currently in place.

According to the Enquirer, the county is also hoping to recoup $25,000 from recycling the old seat bottoms and backs.

When Tom Brady first signed an endorsement deal with UGG Boots, it wasn't just fans that were skeptical. His own teammates questioned the move too.

Brady's former wide receiver, Wes Welker, revealed in an interview with ESPN that after receiving a pair of boots as part of Brady's annual holiday gift, he couldn't help but mock the quarterback.

So during a walkthrough, Welker showed up in only the boots and a jockstrap.

"‘Is this how you wear them? Tom, is this it? Is this how you wear these?’" Welker recalls asking Brady. "It was probably more of a prank on myself, but we still got a good laugh out of it.”

Welker didn't name the exact game, but if it was around Christmas and if the walkthrough was in New England, it may have been quite cold outside. And while Welker's feet were surely warm, the rest of his body was not.

Here's Welker explaining the prank to ESPN's Stevland Wilson:

Teammates can tease Brady about UGGs all they want, but the future Hall of Famer is laughing all the way to the bank.

Chris Conte understands the risks of playing football. He knows repeated blows to the head and the wear and tear on the rest of his body are likely to shorten his lifespan.

And for him, it's all worth it.

"I'd rather have the experience of playing in the NFL and die 10 to 15 years earlier than not play in the NFL and have a long life," he said on WBBM-AM radio in Chicago. "I don't really look toward my life after football. I'll figure things out when I get there.

"As long as I outlive my parents."

The Bears defensive back has endured plenty of physical hardship at just 25 years old. This season alone, he has suffered two concussions. He also missed Monday night's game with a back injury.

Conte is in his fourth season in the NFL after playing college football at Cal. This offseason he will be a free agent for the first time, and he'll likely be looking at a nice pay raise from his rookie contract.

Maybe that income will make the physical ramifications all the more worth it for Conte. But then, based on evidence of even active NFL players suffering the effects of repeated concussions and brain injuries -- and given Conte's concussions history -- it can't be ruled out that those long-term risks are already taking root.

"My mom, especially, definitely worries about me, but they know this is what I want to do, and it’s what makes me happy," Conte told WBBM. " ... And I’m going to do everything I can to continue to play football for as long as I can."

Cut twice and currently without a team, Michael Sam is not giving up hope.

"I'm not afraid to continue on this journey trying to make an NFL team," says Sam in a video titled #IAmUnbroken. "I'm not going to let this discourage me. I'm not going to let this break me down."

The video is part of a series of spots promoting the new movie "Unbroken," a war-time epic directed by Angelina Jolie and based on a true story.

Along with other notable athletes and celebrities, Sam uses the video clip to assert his determination and persistence in reaching his dreams.

The video also discusses some of the challenges Sam has faced since coming out to the public earlier this year -- challenges that have not deterred him.

As the 2014 season nears its end, Sam would appear to face an uphill battle. Although he suited up in the preseason for the St. Louis Rams, he failed to make that team's regular-season roster.

Dallas signed him to its practice squad, but his stay was short-lived. Since his release from the Cowboys in October, Sam has yet to find a home in the NFL.

Maybe the offseason will bring an opportunity.

Even though Areeon Filot insists she was only trying to break up the fight when she ran on to the court, Arvada High School in Colorado decided the freshman point guard's actions warranted a suspension.

As Filot approached the players who were fighting in the game between Arvada and Alameda, her male basketball coach literally took matters into his own hands. Roger Griffin grabbed Filot's hair, ripped her away from the skirmish and threw her to the floor.

In fact, Griffin was so incensed with Filot for leaving the bench that he pushed for her removal from the team -- this in addition to a five-day suspension. The school district granted his request.

Meanwhile Griffin, who is also a teacher at Arvada, will not be punished for flinging Filot to the ground, either by the school or the local district attorney, who declined to file charges.

The outcry against the coach's actions -- and the school's decision not to punish him -- is punctuated by video footage that captures the entire fracas, including Griffin violently throwing Filot:

"They didn't even give me the benefit of the doubt when I didn't do anything," Filot told ABC 7 News in Denver. "It's just like it shows you don’t have any hope or faith in your students to change."

Filot's mother demanded that the coach apologize for his actions against her daughter, but he refused. With no criminal charges forthcoming, Filot has very few options for seeking justice and changing the punishments she has received.

Filot can request to be brought back to the team next season, but the bitter relationship with her coach -- now made worse after she pursued legal action against him -- doesn't make that a likely option.

Perhaps a civil action is an option.

It turns out the NFL, sports' modern-day television ratings king, is not unbeatable.

During the fall, the super popular AMC drama The Walking Dead scored higher ratings in the all-important 18-to-49-year-old demographic in five out of eight weeks while going against NBC's Sunday Night Football.

Even though the NFL's Sunday night contests haven't all been thrillers, this is a remarkable accomplishment for AMC.

Sports Illustrated media writer Richard Deitsch put the show's feat into perspective in his column this week:

"It’s a remarkable television feat given that the NFL simply does not get out-rated on Sundays, and it makes you wonder if other networks can glean something from AMC, short of creating a show about a zombie apocalypse."

Additionally, The Walking Dead will end ESPN's 27-year run of having the most watched cable series, a streak that started when it carried Sunday Night Football and then shifted to Monday Night Football in 2006.

AMC president Charlie Collier told Deitsch that his network's feat is attributable to a year-round marketing effort, which includes the show's strong presence at conventions like Comic Con and constant social media postings. Just like how the NFL uses the Combine and the Draft to stoke offseason interest, AMC knows it must keep pushing its product throughout the year.

​"We don’t per se look at The Walking Dead in comparison to the NFL," Collier told Deitsch. "What we are really trying to do is create a fan experience and an event each week that moves and engages every viewer. For fans of The Walking Dead, the show is like their favorite team playing a home game on national TV every week."

AMC cleverly split the fifth season of "The Walking Dead" into two parts. The first half ended a few weeks ago and the second half picks up in February. There's a reason for the timing; while the show can compete with the NFL during the regular season, the playoffs are another beast. So the show proved its muscle this fall and will likely score enormous ratings in the winter when it isn't competing with football.

It should be noted, furthermore, that if time-shifted viewing (people who watch the program on DVR) is included in the ratings, "The Walking Dead" would have beaten the NFL each week.

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