Whitley's Believe It Or Not: Ads on UF jerseys is a safe prediction

David Whitley
The Gainesville Sun

Before we ponder whether Florida linemen will eventually be larger than Andre the Giant, let’s address another future shock.

Are you ready for the Florida Gatorades?

The NHL announced last week it will allow teams to sell advertising on jerseys beginning in 2022. The NBA has allowed it since 2017. The NFL and MLB are making similar advertising plans.

“It’s manifest destiny,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said when his league unveiled its plan. “It creates an additional investment in those companies in the league.”

Translation: They’re going to give us millions!

Given that, it’s inevitable that advertising patches are coming to a college jersey near you. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey has probably already talked to Jeff Bezos about Amazon patches for all league teams and free Prime memberships for all recruits.

Ads on jerseys may seem like the ultimate sellout, but times are changing fast. I abandoned all hope after reading where a five-star Vanderbilt recruit signed a $50,000 endorsement deal with KFC, then he entered the transfer portal when he got a better offer from a couple of Burger Kings at FSU.

The Orlando Magic advertise Disney, which is appropriate given how Mickey Mouse their operation has been over the years. I’m wondering what advertiser would make the most sense for Florida?

Gatorade is obvious, given the drink’s origin in a UF lab. Let me know if you have a better option and I’ll print them next week.

Like it or not, an advertising patch is manifest destiny. Might as well have one that makes sense. ...

Speaking of marketing, Alabama cornerback Ga’Quincy “Kool-Aid” McKinstry has signed an endorsement deal with, you guessed it — Kool-Aid. He got his nickname as a kid because people thought his grin resembled the smile on the Kool-Aid pitcher.

That was long before NIL came along, but McKinstry is doing all he can to promote his new employer. He’s officially listed as “Kool-Aid McKinstry” on the team roster. He’ll probably get a bonus every time an announcer calls his name.

 If this catches on, and it probably will, expect to see more “Coca-Cola” Jacksons and “Domino's” Johnsons. ...

Purina reportedly considered advertising on Georgia jerseys, then it realized the Bulldogs haven’t won a national championship in 294 dog years. ...

Now that classes are resuming, some college teams are trying to keep players in a COVID bubble. Dan Mullen isn’t placing social restrictions on his players.

“Listen, these are young college kids right now, growing and learning in the world and in life,” he said. “We educate them on how to make good decisions and how to do things right.”

Just to be safe, if you see Kaiir Elam at a McDonald’s, you might want to double-mask before asking him to autograph your Egg McMuffin. ...

Headline of the Week — “UF fills out men’s basketball roster with JUCO player” — Gainesville Sun.

The player is Tuongthach Gatkek. He’s 6-foot-9 and 175 pounds.

Six-nine and 175 pounds?

UF’s roster apparently didn’t need much filling out. ...

Naming “All-Name” teams a preseason tradition, like Auburn tackler Prince Tega Wanogho or Arkansas linebacker Bumper Pool. Alas, those days are over.

Since singling out funny-sounding names might now be considered offensive, intolerant or worse, I’m not taking any chances. Here’s my 2021 SEC All-Name Team:

QB – Emory Jones, Florida; WR – Velus Jones, Tenn.; WR – Shi Smith, S.C.; OL – Braden Smith, Auburn; OL - Trai Jones, S.C.; RB – Trelon Smith, Ark.; OL – Luke Jones, Ark.; LB – Mike Jones, LSU; LB – Jordan Smith, Ala., CB – Raydarious Jones, LSU; LB – Nolan Smith, Ga.; P – Noah Jones, Ga. ...

Speaking of culturally inappropriate, the Washington Football Team is reportedly down to three possible names out of eight finalists — Armada, Brigade, Commanders, Defenders, Presidents, RedHogs, RedWolves and Washington Football Team.

Ugh to all.

I’m still holding out for the Washington Redskin Potatoes, because vegetables can’t be offended. If they could, asparagus would have committed suicide years ago. ...

Speaking of food, Kentucky QB Will Levis posted a video on him eating an overripe, mushy banana — peel and all. Maybe he’s angling in on an NIL deal with Chiquita.

“I don’t fear the brown spots on bananas,” the Penn State transfer wrote. “They fear me.”

Unfortunately for Levis, there are no brown spots on the SEC schedule. ...

Correction: It's only been 287 dog years since Georgia won a national championship. The Sun regrets the error. ...

Florida’s starting offensive line in 1971 averaged 6-foot-2 and 227 pounds. This year’s line averages 6-foot-5 and 317 pounds.

At this rate, the 2071 OL will average 6-foot-8 and 408 pounds. The downside is those players will cost UF $700 a day to feed. The upside is their jerseys will have a lot of advertising space. ...

If there were an SEC Basketball All-Name Team, Tuongthach Gatkek would be the starting forward. ...

Georgia QB JT Daniels signed an NIL deal with a trading card company that will pay him $100 per autograph. Daniels plans to share half of his earnings with his teammates.

In related news, Will Levis plans to share all his banana peels with his offensive linemen. ...

Correction: A five-star recruit did not transfer to FSU from Vanderbilt. Research now shows that Vandy has never actually had a five-star recruit. ...

That’s all the space we have for this week’s Whitley’s Believe It or Not. Until we meet again, please peel your bananas before eating them.

— David Whitley is The Gainesville Sun's sports columnist. Contact him at dwhitley@gannett.com. And follow him on Twitter: @DavidEWhitley