Posted September 17, 2013

Mark Emmert: NCAA won’t budge on paying college athletes

NCAAF
The NCAA spent $150,000 on lobbyists last year. (Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

President Mark Emmert said the NCAA is not close to paying student athletes. (Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

Factions calling for colleges to pay student athletes will not see the current policy against such a practice change any time soon, according to NCAA president Mark Emmert.

Speaking at a Marquette University forum on Monday, Emmert said the NCAA could see a major restructure in the near future, but that the paying of student athletes won’t be a part of that shift. Emmert points to university presidents as the main roadblock to allowing players to be paid for jobs or for their athletic hours while other scholarship students are allowed to work on-campus jobs.

“One thing that sets the fundamental tone is there’s very few members and, virtually no university president, that thinks it’s a good idea to convert student-athletes into paid employees. Literally into professionals,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said Monday at Marquette University. “Then you have something very different from collegiate athletics. One of the guiding principles (of the NCAA) has been that this is about students who play sports.”

While the NCAA and schools are benefiting from the billion-dollar business that is college athletics, athletes like Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel are scrutinized for benefiting financially from their performance. Texas A&M reported raising a record $740 million last year, in large part due to the success of Manziel and his teammates.

ROSENBERG: The NCAA has an amateurism mess on its hands

In contrast to the position taken by college presidents, the NCAA’s Division I Board of Directors has twice approved allowing schools to give athletes a stipend to cover expenses such as clothes, off-campus meals and travel that are not covered by their scholarship. Smaller schools have led a vote against the move, citing the costs of such stipends. Larger schools with bigger budgets are better prepared to pay such stipends, and could push for a restructuring that allows them to act without the smaller schools’ votes.

Commissioners of powerful conferences — SEC, Big 10, Big 12 — have gone public with their desire for a restructured NCAA.  Emmert said discussions will begin at the organization’s meeting next month. The agenda for the NCAA national convention will include a day-and-a-half forum that will allow the entire membership to express opinions.

“That could involve bringing all 350 members of Division I together and having every school vote on it,” Emmert said. “It’ll be a bit like a constitutional convention.”

Emmert said that no school has threatened to leave the NCAA because to do so would jeopardize its participation in March Madness and other NCAA championships. But the chasm between large and small voting members is growing.

“They’re having a really hard time finding common interests,” he said.


10 comments
Aaron14
Aaron14

Why does Emmert and the NCAA still wish to pretend there is not a financial transaction already occurring with the issuance of scholarships to most athletes.  Unless the NCAA considers scholarships valueless, then that constitutes payment for services.   The point everyone in the entire universe is trying to make to these thieves is that this is not a reasonable enough of a payment for their services and hardships.

Mattdd17
Mattdd17

I understand that the larger conferences want to make as much money off of sports as possible. I think that they should go and create their own 'semi-pro' football league....AND PAY TAXES ON IT. Yes, they should lose their tax exempt status.

The rules in the NCAA were put in place to keep all schools on near equal footing. The conference presidents, like Scott in the PAC, don't want 'near equal' footing. In fact, the TV deals already give the big conferences a vast advantage. Why can't they just like their status and take their millions and allow the other schools to try to compete.

Playing athletes only help the top 15 schools anyway. Sorry, the Oregon States, Washtington States, Ole Misses.... won't benefit as much as the Floridas, Alabamas, Ohio States, Texases....

RussHaasch
RussHaasch

Emmert says "no school has threatened to leave the NCAA", which may be true.  However, there is no law that requires schools to belong to the NCAA, and since it's such a farce as an organization, why don't ALL schools just leave?  There's absolutely nothing to prevent schools from organizing their own March Madness-type tournament, football playoffs, sports championships, etc.  The NCAA isn't a god; it's just another ineffective club that makes a real nice chunk of change from doing virtually nothing for its members.

Blinker
Blinker

What's the point of the ncaa when they do not enforce their own rules????  The ncaa has lost all relevance and credibility.  They are just trying to keep their paychecks coming in for as long as possible (for doing NOTHING!!!!)

Califas
Califas

The NCAA really is no longer relevant in collegiate sports; its become a hindrance.  The sanctions it imposes selectively on college teams for myriad rules violations are inconsistent and questionable across the board. Favoritism toward some teams, perhaps?  Case in point, what's the latest on the UMiami football investigation. That's been going on for quite some time now.

Ryan13
Ryan13

I can see giving the players a stipend, however it has to be equal across ALL of the schools. But that is the hard part, not every school can hit that cost margin, then again a good portion of them could cover students 10x over.

Fifilo
Fifilo

Now there's a shock.

Mattdd17
Mattdd17

@Ryan13 How about paying all students? Many end up making a lot of money and send that to the university. Only 2% of college football players go pro in football. Getting a 'free education, free lodging, free books, free food" for 4-5 years sounds like a good deal.