Paying the players? 3 major voices share views on college athlete compensation

The news the Big Ten signed a mega deal for the rights to broadcast its athletic events brought with it questions about what will be done with the money.

Some form of debate about whether or how college players should be compensated has existed nearly as long as the sport itself, and it does not figure to end anytime soon.

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To further the discussion, here are three points of view that have surfaced this week from three unique perspectives:

Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud said yes, players should get a cut of the TV money:

“I’ll probably have to think about that a little more, but just off rip, I would say yes, and I think coaches as well, too. I feel like this game is definitely amazing, especially in a college atmosphere because it still does have amateurism to it. I mean, they’re paying for our school, so that’s definitely a plus, but at the same time, I’m not 100 percent sure what our tuition is, but I’m sure it’s not the worth of how much we’re actually worth.

“My mom has always taught me to know my worth. Just because we put in so much work. We’re here when nobody’s looking, and all the time that goes into it is definitely tough because then you take time away from your family. I’m 2,000 miles away from home. I don’t want anybody to feel bad for me, but at the same time, it does take a lot of courage. It does take a lot of heart to be here day in and day out, year in and year out, so I definitely think it should be shared, but if not, I mean, at the end of the day, we have the (name, image and likeness advertising compensation) space and we can do it that way.”

Ohio State director of athletics Gene Smith, who played football at Notre Dame in the late 1970s, said he does not support an actual salary for players but is interested in discussing the composition of a scholarship:

“They’re already getting a piece of the television revenue. When you aggregate in our ‘circle of care’ and all the people that we put around our student-athletes and trainers, strength coaches, sports psychologists, nutritionists, academic counselors — just keep going around the list — that’s how we fund those positions. That’s how we fund (the football facility). That’s how we fund this new field. That’s how we fund a new field in the stadium. That’s how we fund the security that we’ll need for 103,000 people in our stadium and maybe 30,000 outside for the tailgating while the game is going on.

“So they actually already get a piece. It might not be directly in their pocket, but it’s an investment in them.

“That doesn’t mean the scholarship model might not change,” he added, noting this is the first year Ohio State is distributing additional money to each of its athletes to satisfy the terms of a lawsuit the NCAA lost last year. “Every single student-athlete is getting over $5,900, which is about a $6 million hit to our budget, so they’re already getting it. So do we do more down the road? Possibly — and that will be discussed, but not in the form of pay for play or I’m out.”

Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren was asked during the taping of an episode of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel set to run on HBO next week if he could see players in revenue sports being paid and answered in the affirmative:

“Those are the things that we have to resolve. We have to. So I want to be part of this conversation, and will be part of this conversation of what we can do to make this better.”

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