SEATTLE – The NCAA has passed new regulations which would allow conferences to pay student athletes.
The new rule, passed Thursday, allows schools to pay students up to $2,000 in addition to their college scholarship. The NCAA says conferences will be able to make the decision, and it is not mandatory.
However, according to a Pac-12 spokesperson, every scholarship athlete regardless of gender or sport, would be able to receive the stipend if approved.
“It’s a definite step in the right direction,” says Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott, who said he would urge conference schools to spend the money. “One size doesn’t fit all.”
“To give the schools the flexibility to do this, is very good from my perspective. It will allow us to cover the full cost of attendance,” said Scott.
“I am not only supportive of it. I was an outspoken proponent for it,” said University of Washington President Dr. Michael Young in an interview with KING5’s Jean Enersen on Friday. “They work 40 hours a week on the athletic field and can’t go out and work part time, and earn pizza money or tattoo money.”
He said he was not troubled by the appearance of favoritism for student athletes, and would tell other students or families it is okay “because you’re not spending 20-40 hours doing something besides academic work for the university.”
The cost could be prohibitive for schools. The UW has 800 student athletes, and WSU a little more than 300 scholarship student athletes.
“I think there would be less dirty stuff going on if they institute this,” says 710 ESPN Radio Host and WSU Alum Jim Moore. “In the Pac 12, with the new television contract they’re getting they can offset that expense I think.”
However, some students wonder about the equity of the situation.
“It can be tricky,” says Junior Cody Elledge, who works as a mechanic, and has student loans to pay for his college education. “What are they providing the school?”
But he admits there is an argument for this new page in college sports history.
“I’m sure football makes a lot of money for UW and so that’s part of their work. Are they working? Then they should probably get paid.”