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College football: Sports' disproportionate revenue, jersey sales muddle player compensation issue

by Jason Kersey Published: July 27, 2013
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Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops came under fire this spring for his comments regarding player compensation in a Sporting News story, but quickly clarified that he's in favor of a stipend as long as all student-athletes receive one.

That's just one of the long list of potential problems that could arise from paying players. At a school like Oklahoma, where football's revenue essentially funds the entire athletic department, should those players be paid more than others? Should walk-ons be paid the same as scholarship players?

Would star athletes — whose jerseys are sold — be entitled to more money than, say, an offensive lineman?

“When it comes to the legality of it, I think it's an extremely complex issue,” said OU senior center Gabe Ikard. “You can't — with Title IX and all that stuff — pay a football player and then not pay a women's swimmer. It's not one of those things where there's a simple answer. I really don't know if they're able to compensate players, how they'd do it fairly for every sport, and how they work that into an athletic budget.

“I've always felt it's a little unfair for the star guys, the quarterbacks, running backs, who get their jerseys sold in the bookstores. It's a really complex issue, and to be able to work something out that's fair will take a long time. I don't know how they're going to do it.”

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