Big 12, WVU execs say player pay OK

ByJoe Schad ESPN logo
Thursday, August 7, 2014

NEW YORK -- Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby and West Virginia athletics director Oliver Luck said Wednesday they are generally supportive of allowing student-athletes to be paid for the use of their name, image and likeness.

"I think that the collegiate community has learned a lesson about taking a broad latitude with name, image and likeness," Bowlsby said.

Added Luck: "I think they should be compensated for use of that name, image and likeness."

Bowlsby and Luck made the comments as part of a wide-ranging forum on the state of college athletics hosted by the Big 12. The pair warned that there are complex possible complications from allowing such an arrangement, including the possibility that donors exploit loopholes.

Luck said that, for example, he would not have taken issue with former West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith profiting from an advertisement for Nike, Coca-Cola or a West Virginia hospital while he was in school.

Texas athletics director Steve Patterson, who also participated in the forum, said he was concerned agents could attempt to create a market for the athlete to advertise with an apparel company that competes with the university's. Patterson disagreed with allowing players to collect, for example, on advertising, video games or jersey sales, adding, "The presumption that they are getting nothing for these things is a fallacy."

Patterson added that the value of a Texas scholarship could be enough to place a student-athlete in the top third of household income among Americans.

This issue will likely be settled by at least one of the several current lawsuits involving the NCAA.

The NCAA restructuring that would allow for the Power 5 conferences to make their own rules in certain areas is widely expected to pass a vote on Thursday afternoon and also is not expected to be overridden. The initial rule of focus will be a cost-of-attendance allowance that the wealthiest schools have been unsuccessfully pushing for for years. One under-the-radar concern of some schools and coaches is whether a conference competitor will be able to offer a recruit several thousand dollars more, given that the amount calculated varies from campus to campus based on factors of expense.

Still, most power conference administrators believe student-athletes deserve more money toward living expenses. 

"What will happen, I believe, under the greater autonomy model," Baylor president and chancellor Kenneth Starr said, "is everyone will move in the direction of taking care of your student-athletes. That's what this should be about."