University of Washington

Cornhuskers shrug off deal with Martinez’s father

Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne says there is nothing inappropriate about his department having a business agreement with the father of the Cornhuskers' starting quarterback.

Casey Martinez of Corona, Calif., owns an apparel company known as Corn Fed. He signed a contract with Nebraska in June 2007 that entitles Nebraska to a 10 percent royalty on Corn Fed products bearing the Huskers’ logo. The Los Angeles Times first reported the agreement.

Nebraska offered Martinez’s son, Taylor, a football scholarship in June 2008, and he signed his letter of intent in February 2009 without visiting another school.

NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson said the deal is not against the rules.

Osborne said he didn’t understand how it could be perceived that the licensing agreement helped Nebraska land Taylor Martinez or be considered an ongoing extra benefit to him.

“The arrangement was done before we even knew about Taylor Martinez or that we knew he was a football player,” Osborne told The Associated Press on Thursday from San Diego, where the Huskers played Washington in the Holiday Bowl. “This hasn’t changed anything. It would be really odd if we said that now that Taylor plays with Nebraska we can no longer do business with you. We’re doing nothing that violates NCAA or university rules.”

NCAA rules allow parents of a prospective or current student-athlete to enter a business relationship with a school if no special arrangements are made and the business is legitimate, Christianson wrote in an e-mail to the AP.

“Such arrangements, however, could raise concerns and possible scrutiny,” he wrote.

Michael Stephens, the assistant athletic director who handles licensing for Nebraska, said the school has taken in less than $500 over the three-year period of the agreement with Corn Fed.

“I approached them years ago for a licensing opportunity,” Casey Martinez said, “as I did the other schools (among them Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Iowa), when Taylor was much younger and wasn’t even thinking about college football.”

NEW YEAR’S PARTY

UW receiver Jordan Polk knows specifically where he’ll be on Jan. 1: at his mother’s inauguration.

Loretta Smith, a 20-year community leader in Northwest Portland, won the election in November for Multnomah County Commissioner (District 2) – a campaign her son helped out on.

“I did help a lot, went door-to-door on stuff when I had the chance to,” said Polk, a junior. “She did all the hard work.

“I guess there are (perks) with her being my mom, but I don’t know what they are yet.”

EXTRA POINTS

Even though San Diego was hit with an inch of rain Wednesday afternoon, the Qualcomm Stadium parking lot and field were in playable condition – unlike last week when city officials pumped out 1.5 million gallons of water before the Poinsettia Bowl. ... At the coaches’ press conference Wednesday, UW’s Steve Sarkisian pointed out that a key in Nebraska’s rebuilding effort under Bo Pelini was keeping a coaching staff intact – and indicated he’s going to try and do that this offseason. ... The Huskies’ most common bowl opponent? It is four games against Michigan, all in the Rose Bowl – in 1978 (win), 1981 (loss), 1992 (win) and 1993 (loss). ... The Holiday Bowl was Nebraska’s 47th bowl game in school history.

Staff writer Todd Milles contributed to this report.

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