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The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio)
Ohio State University President Michael V. Drake said Tuesday he would oppose paying college athletes as if they were professional players, saying the "student-athlete relationship has served our students and our country well for decades."
At a panel discussion at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., and in an interview afterward, Drake said the current system of providing student-athletes with help on tuition and room and board has been "overwhelmingly successful in helping people to get an education and go on and do great things in their lives."
Drake pointed out his "father was a student-athlete many years ago," and probably "wouldn't have gone to college otherwise."
Major schools such as Ohio State agreed in 2015 to pay what is known as a "cost of attendance" stipend to college athletes in addition to whatever they receive from the university to pay for tuition and room and board. The stipends average about $3,000 a year per athlete.
The College Athletes Players Association, an organization founded by three former NCAA athletes, has pushed for college players to form unions and argued that college athletes deserve far more money than the stipends.
But Drake said he believes "in the student-athlete model overall. We want to do our best to manage that. I understand the pressures on student athletes and understand the nature and the size of our athletic enterprise. But I think the student-athlete relationship has served our students and our country well for decades."
Drake was seconded by Stanford University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, who said paying college athletes "would get in the way of them being students first and foremost, and athletes second."
Drake, Tessier-Lavigne, and Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust spoke about the future of higher education before an audience of several hundred people at a downtown hotel in Washington.
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