This past week, the Southeastern Conference held their annual meetings in Destin, Florida. The league’s coaches agreed to support a proposal that would provide student-athletes with a $4,000 stipend.
Although this is merely a “proposal”, the fact that the most powerful conference in the highest revenue generating sport (football) actually voted on enacting this stipend is a definite eye opener. Urban Meyer – who coached at Florida from 2005-2010, was asked about his thoughts regarding the stipend.
I’m on record of saying I’m in favor of it. That’s the first I’ve heard of the $4,000,” Meyer said. “I don’t think there’s any person that would say they don’t deserve that.
Meyer, whose daughter, Gigi Meyer, plays volleyball at Florida Gulf Coast University, admitted that there are some complications that come along with compensating college athletes, especially those in sports that don’t traditionally generate revenue.
“You’ve got the Title IX, it’s not that easy. I think we found that out when it was pushed through a year ago,” Meyer said, referring to the $2,000 stipend proposal. “My daughter’s a volleyball player at Florida Gulf Coast, does she get $4,000? Not that I’m pushing for that, but I could see where lawsuits would come and all that.
“It’s a slippery slope.”
Slippery indeed. However, given the off-field issues that Ohio State dealt with a few years ago, one could argue that if the stipend were in place then the issues from “Tattoo-Gate” could have been avoided. Those five student-athletes involved could have simply paid for the tattoo themselves.
Regardless of if the $4,000 stipend moves forward or is stalled like the $2,000 one was, the topic of providing payment for college athletes isn’t going anywhere. Former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon is currently in the process of suing the NCAA, claiming that athletes deserve to receive a portion of the revenue generated off their “likeness.” The much-publicized lawsuit is threatening to change the entire landscape and system of college athletics, and should it be certified at a June 20 hearing in Oakland, Calif., it would likely do just that.
That crucial date still remains more than two weeks away. But the suit could eventually grant Meyer and his former SEC colleagues their wish, and perhaps much more.