Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Stipend for College Players Would Be a Bust

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Stipend for College Players Would Be a Bust

Article excerpt

Byline: Gene Frenette, Times-Union sports writer

When are people going to learn that forcing the NCAA to do anything that it's adamantly against is just a waste of time and money?

A Nebraska legislator, Sen. Ernie Chambers, has sponsored a bill asking his state to pay University of Nebraska football players a modest stipend just because they suit up on fall Saturdays for Big Red. Three other states in the Big 12 Conference must pass a similar law for Chambers' measure to take effect. It's just another example of why many politicians get accused of being spendthrifts.

If you're going to fight for something that makes sense in college football, go to bat for a playoff system. At least that has a reasonable chance of becoming reality in some form by 2006.

Paying college athletes -- even the proposed $5.15 per hour for all scholarship football players and walk-ons at Nebraska -- will never happen under the NCAA's watch. It only opens a Pandora's box that any college president or athletic director would reject faster than gender inequity.

At a hearing, Chambers told lawmakers: "It will be a powerful message to the NCAA that legislators are looking at this issue."

More like a powerful antidote against Frank Solich's team or any other Big 12 program that enacts this legislation.

Because the moment any state makes law that it will compensate Division I football players is the moment the recipient school violates rules and puts its NCAA membership in jeopardy. So while Chambers may think this is a progressive legislation, it's the worst thing that could happen to Nebraska football since, well, since Tom Osborne became a politician.

"I don't think people have a real understanding of the peripheral issues that would come to the table [if it became law]," said Florida State athletic director Dave Hart. …

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