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Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim no fan of paying student-athletes

Oct 2, 2013, 10:23 PM EDT

Syracuse Orange head coach Boeheim watches his team play the Michigan Wolverines in the first half of their NCAA men's Final Four basketball game in Atlanta Reuters

With the O’Bannon lawsuit gaining some momentum in the form of EA Sports and the Collegiate Licensing Company deciding to settle with the plaintiffs the concept of student-athlete compensation (beyond what those on scholarship currently receive) has been discussed with greater frequency in recent weeks.

On one side of the equation are those who see the television contracts and coach salaries and believe that athletes in revenue sports deserve more. And on the other side are the traditionalists who believe that athletes are well-compensated currently and don’t need to be paid.

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim could best be described as a traditionalist in this regard, and his response to a question from the audience during Wednesday’s New York State Associated Press symposium illustrates this.

“That’s really the most idiotic suggestion of all time. Jay Bilas has pushed it a little bit. And I respect Jay a lot. I think you have to understand something. It’s really very clear. This is really clear.

“I laughed all the time at Chris Webber, who said he didn’t get any money at Michigan because they sold his uniform and the school got all this money and he didn’t get a penny. He didn’t then say that because of the platform he had at Michigan where he made All-American and they went to the Final Four and that he ended up signing a pro contract and ended up making over $100 million playing basketball. Which is what the great players do, and those are the uniforms that sell in college.

“So he didn’t get his $30,000 or $40,000. Well he did, but not by legal means. That’s proven, that’s not something I’m speculating on. But he got his money. Juwan Howard played 20 years in the NBA, also on that Michigan team. Made over $100 million. There’s a guy named Rob Pelinka on that team, who got his scholarship, his full scholarship, became an agent, is Kobe Bryant’s agent, made a lot of money. But he got his $50,000 education for free.”

Boeheim went on to cite the education that players receive, as well as the opportunity for those who meet the qualifications to receive a Pell Grant (additional need-based aid). As Rob Dauster noted earlier today “we’re still a pretty long way” from there being major change to the current model of collegiate athletics. And one of the sticking points will clearly be the scholarships that athletes receive.

Should there be an outright payment to supplement the scholarships? How about a stipend that helps close the gap between the full cost of attendance and the scholarship received? Or will things remain just as they are? It’s pretty clear when Boeheim stands on the matter.

This is just one issue the powers that be will need to address in the future, with the time frame likely being determined by the outcome of the O’Bannon lawsuit.

  1. shafted1 - Oct 3, 2013 at 3:02 AM

    Coaches are teachers to the student athletes within their respective programs. Many of them claim to be ‘surrogate’ parents to those young men and women. Teachers utilize academics to teach those kids but they depend upon ‘teaching by example’ as well.

    Jim Boeheim is not to be singled out. He is but one of many coaches who fail to recognize their ‘example’ conveys the wrong message to student athletes. Their message is clear and concise; expect obscene amounts of money for their involvement in a mere game.

    Mark Emmert has no room to talk either. The man collects a salary of $1.7 million annually. Yet his defining success has been to render the NCAA totally ineffective and incompetent in it’s ability to fulfill it’s mission.

    This is simply about greedy individuals fighting to prevent the sharing of ill-gotten profits with the student athletes who provided the commodity exploited for monetary gain in the first place.

  2. whitdog23 - Oct 3, 2013 at 6:41 AM

    way to go jim. you’re absolutely correct!! there’s plenty of value in an education. a free education! and it lasts a lifetime

    • cuejay - Oct 3, 2013 at 7:17 AM

      Yes there is plenty of value in education. But the kids that AREN’T superstars or the brightest academically or come from upper middle-class households sometimes struggle, while on scholarship, struggle to have money for food and/or basic necessities. If these kids are generating millions of dollars for their schools, they should be paid. I’m not talking about about NBA-level money but a few hundred dollars a week isn’t unreasonable. I love Coach Boeheim, but he’s making millions of dollars a year. He’s not in the struggle.

  3. whitdog23 - Oct 3, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    Boeheim is not in the struggle because he got his degree! don’t you get it? just like kids (athletes) who don’t graduate HS..can’t play in college.

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