IRVING -- Three players who made an impact on the NCAA athletic scene in the 1980's said it's high time for the NCAA to get off its high horse and start paying college athletes.
In town to help promote the 2014 NCAA Final Four -- it'll be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington from Apr. 4-7 -- Mark Alarie, Pervis Ellison and John Williams all insist that student-athletes need to get paid more than just their scholarship for all the millions of dollars they're helping stuff into the college's bank accounts.
"I don’t think a scholarship is a fair trade for a number of players,'' said Alarie, who played for Duke from 1982-'86. "I think that their likeness is being abused.
"I also think that money they can make based on who they are shouldn’t be policed by some non-governmental agency. I don’t understand why you should be able to prevent someone from earning a living.''
Pervis Ellison, who led Louisville to the 1986 NCAA title and played for the Cardinals from 1985-'89, noted that recent allegations surrounding whether Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel got paid for signing autographs is a clear indication that the days to pay the athletes has arrived.
"I think that's obvious with the revenue that’s being generated,'' Ellison said. "And you have situations where you have kids like Johnny Manziel went through a situation where there were rumors that he had been paid for doing autograph signings.
"And that same day the NCAA actually had him doing autographs signings. Things like that, it's unfair to the athlete.''
Williams, who played for LSU from 1984-'86, also believe the NCAA isn't playing fair with its student-athletes.
"I know the universities are giving us a full scholarship, but times are different now,'' Williams said. "Times are much harder now than it was back then when I was in school.
"And then you have these athletes getting into trouble for signing a jersey -- or anything. I think they should open the books up and start giving the players some of that money and you won’t have much to talk about then.''
While Greg Drieling doesn't actually support college players getting paid, the ex-Kansas center thinks the athletes should be compensated financially in some way.
"If there’s a chance to make things a little more comfortable during the school year when they’re not allowed to work, then I think that would maybe be a good idea,'' said Dreiling, who was on the Jayhawks' squad that played in the 1986 Final Four in Dallas. "I’d hate to see kids have to look for outside sources of income, if you know what I mean.
"Maybe just up the stipend a bit.''
A stipend, Alarie said, is more or less a way of putting a band-aid on the controversial situation.
"I don’t understand why if (college athletics is) such a big business, why some of that money shouldn't be shared with the participants in the sport,'' Alarie said. "And I don't think it's being shared in a fair way.''
-- Dwain Price
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