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.”
Oklahoma senior cornerback Aaron Colvin said he's inclined to believe football players should be treated differently because of the large revenue they generate, but quickly added that he knows that isn't feasible and wouldn't be fair.
“To be openly honest, I do think it's somewhat different with football because they do bring in so much revenue, especially at certain schools, but at the end of the day, it's not fair to pay one sport more money than the other one because everybody's doing the same thing,” Colvin said. “Everybody's risking their time, sacrificing their time, their bodies, in order to compete for their school. But I don't have the solution for it.”