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College Athletics Officials Adamantly Against Pay for Play

Paul Steinbach

The Division IA Athletic Directors' Association, a record 120 members of which met this week in Dallas, released a statement Wednesday relaying a unified "rejection of the 'pay-for-play' model" of student-athlete compensation.

Speaking for the entire membership of 351 Division I athletics programs, association president and Purdue University athletic director Morgan Burke said, "Pay for play has no part in the amateur setting."

Burke further notes in the statement that "the value of a full scholarship and direct support services at Purdue has a value in excess of $250,000. Plus, student-athletes with a full scholarship have no loan to pay back, an expense that could run upwards of $200,000 at Purdue."

Independent of the statement, Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard tweeted Wednesday, "Ask a student body member with thousands of dollars of debt at graduation how they feel about a student-athlete saying they should be paid?" And later, "Only one that is going to be paid from 'pay for play' are the lawyers. Time for silent majority to stand up and value education!"

Addressing reporters Wednesday outside the Big Ten Conference offices in Rosemont, Ill., comissioner Jim Delany said he was open to expanding student-athlete benefits, but that he is against paying student-athletes. "There are things we can do to prioritize their experience," he said. "But I feel as strongly as I did 20 years ago it's not pay for play."

If student-athletes wish to monetize themselves, they should seek employment among professional agents or in the minor leagues, Delany said, adding that colleges should help the NFL develop its own minor league system instead of the NCAA serving as a free one. "Brands have been built over 100 years," Delany said, referring to colleges. "It's not about any 17- or 18-year-old who demands, 'I want to be paid for play.' "

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