What should the NCAA do with student-athletes?

Leading Off: Should colleges pay athlete to play?

Published: Friday, Sep. 27, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C

With all the talk lately about paying college athletes, how about this counter argument by students who pay for their tuition, books and room and board: Don't scholarship athletes already have a sweet deal?

The debate rages over whether NCAA student/athletes should be allowed to earn money from jobs or from signing autographs – or perhaps earn a percentage from the sales of jerseys that feature their number.

The NCAA is against all of this, of course, fearing athletes really would go to college just to play sports and cash in. The NCAA doesn't want another scandal like the one that led to SMU getting the death penalty in the early 1980s for repeated violations of boosters paying athletes under the table.

Still, let's not be naive. Big-time college football and basketball programs make tens of millions of dollars from TV deals and ticket and apparel sales because of the athletes that play for their universities.

What seems fair is the NCAA Board of Directors' discussion about a possible rule change that would allow athletes a stipend to cover expenses such as clothes, travel and meal money beyond what is provided by their scholarships. But smaller colleges are leery because they don't have the finances to make such an effort.

Whichever direction this issues goes, the NCAA doesn't want to have to deal with the chaos that would come with endless money trails.

Today's poll

What should the NCAA do with student/athletes?

• Pay them stipends

• Let them earn money

• Keep it the same

Vote above or leave your comments in the comments field; or go to www.sacbee.com/sports

Thursday's poll results

Should the Giants re-sign Tim Lincecum?

• No: 34%

• Yes: 66%

Total votes: 201

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