Paid to Play - Former USM Athletes Weigh In - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Paid to Play - Former USM Athletes Weigh In

Posted: Updated:

The debate over financial compensation for collegiate athletes carries on, even at the local level.

According to a June 22 article in the New York Times, an ongoing lawsuit between former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon and the NCAA stands to drastically shift the landscape of collegiate athletics.

O'Bannon sued the NCAA for licensing his likeness without compensating him.

According to a July 17 ESPN article, the lawsuit is responsible for wiping the popular NCAA Football video game series off the shelves when NCAA's contract with EA Sports expires in June 2014.

Many factors contribute to the complexity of this issue, one that even prompts former Southern Miss athletes to weigh in.

"No I don't think athletes should be paid," says recent Southern Miss graduate and javelin thrower Kyle Smith.

"I'm certainly in favor of it," says former Southern Miss point guard and current Jones County Junior College head basketball coach Jay Ladner.

These former Southern Miss athletes suggest the issue is one of ethics and practicality.

"To share a little of that revenue I think is really only fair," says Ladner.

"Well I mean I don't necessarily think that it's if they should be paid, I think it's that we don't have the money to pay them," says Smith.

According to the NCAA's most recent Revenues and Expenses of Division I Athletic Departments report, only 23 Division I institutions operated in the black in 2012 and 2011.

That means more than 300 Division I athletic departments failed to break even. USM's is one of them.

"Conference USA schools can't afford it, and Sunbelt schools can't afford it, MAC schools can't afford it and a lot of these smaller schools don't have the money or the resources to pay athletes," says Smith.

Even some of the big schools cannot afford it.

In October 2011, the NCAA's Division I Board of Directors passed legislation that awarded some athletes a $2,000 stipend for tuition, room and board, and textbook expenses.

The rule was suspended two months later, in large part to concerns of the looming budget hits to athletic departments.

But what about the universities with money to spare?

"Particularly the big schools are raking in billions and billions of dollars at the expense of the athletes, and to give some guys the chance to go get a pizza or to wash their clothes is really not asking too much and I don't think would stretch the budget too much," says Ladner.

Ladner says such a form of compensation could have helped his former teammates, ass well as his current players.

"I remember it was a big issue for our guys scrapping up quarters to go to the washateria to be able to wash our clothes, and I was probably in a little bit better situation than others, but the fact of the matter is most of our players come from very poor situations," says Ladner.

Even some against the concept of paid to play seem willing to compromise on that front, but that's the only concession.

"I was lucky enough to have great support back home and I understand some kids can't so maybe there needs to be some kinds of needs based assistance given, but as far as everybody should be paid I don't think so," says Smith.

Powered by WorldNow

5912 Hwy. 49, Ste. A
Hattiesburg, MS 39401

Telephone: 601.545.2077
Fax: 601.545.3589

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.