Louisville Hosts College Athlete Compensation Discussion

by Devin Katayama on February 21, 2012

The President of the National College Players Association Ramogi Huma is using a visit to Louisville to encourage colleges to pay student athletes.

College athletics programs bring in millions of dollars and players’ names and images are sometimes used to sell jerseys and other merchandise. That has some people questioning if a portion of that revenue should be used to pay players.

Huma said the issue should be a state-level decision and he’s begun a campaign to promote legislation that calls for student athlete pay.

“We should make sure that players aren’t being stuck with medical bills, permanent players who are taken off scholarship, should they be given a scholarship to continue their education, should the football and basketball players that are generating all this money have a chance to really graduate. Graduation rates right now hover around 50 percent,” Huma said.

Critics say schools don’t have money to support paying college athletes and that it’ll create an unfair bias for schools that can afford to attract the best players. The University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky both made around $85 million from their athletic programs according to a Department of Education report. That’s almost as much as U of L spends on student financial aid.

Huma said schools are overspending their athletic budgets.

“To some degree that’s fine but at the same time to suggest that there might not be enough money to take care of medical expenses or scholarships that cover the actual price tag of the school is not accurate,” he said.

Huma is working on legislation for states that would help student athletes finish their education and provide protections like medical insurance.

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