Retired Purdue AD: Players Get Enough



The retired Purdue Athletics Director says student-athletes’ get enough benefits.



There is a class action suit that has been filed against the NCAA over players compensation. Right now, both sides are getting stories to use in court but it appears the NCAA does not want to pay players.


What exactly is a student athlete? The answer is unclear. The term “student-athlete did not exist when Walter Byers took the job at the helm of the NCAA in 1951. It would first appear a number of years later following the death of a college football player on the field. The case involved a Fort Lewis A & M student, Ray Dennison who died from injuries suffered in a game in 1955. Dennison’s widow sued for workman’s compensation in Colorado. She lost. Dennison was a student not an employee. That enabled Byers to come up with the student-athlete term because the NCAA got legal cover from the judge who ruled that Fort Lewis A&M was not in the football business. Byers thought trading a scholarship for getting a player was a good deal and it probably was before television and marketing partners started to pour billions for the right to television or become partners with the NCAA and individual colleges. Left behind were student-athletes who didn’t quite get a full scholarship, who had to put in a great deal of time sometimes involuntarily into sports and were limited to making $2,000 a year in outside jobs

The term “student-athlete” has been used to deny college players in all sports benefits such as salary and long term health care from injuries suffered on the field whether in practice or in a game. Courts have pretty much routinely upheld the college side of things in lawsuits filed by severely injured players or survivors of players killed on the field. Schools should not have to pay workman’s compensation or long term health care costs because the athlete is a student not an employee of the school. The athletic scholarship is very one sided, in favor of the schools although there is some justification that the schools are offering scholarships to players and that players ought to be grateful for that and not complain.  Teams playing in football bowl games pay no taxes on bowl payoffs thanks to an antitrust exemption. The players, who really are the show, are not paid while everyone else is making big money. They have stories to tell later in life about appearing in a big game. The coaches get millions, athletic directors bonuses. The players, well they may get a ring.


Jim Boeheim gets millions a year to coach basketball at Syracuse, the men who make him look good get nothing.