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Oklahoma football: J.C. Watts discusses college football's changing landscape

J.C. Watts, a former OU quarterback and four-term Republican congressman, spoke with The Oklahoman about Congress meddling in college football, the new playoff system and the debate over paying college athletes.
by Jason Kersey Published: July 8, 2014

It’s never gonna be a perfect system, but for Congress to get involved … I mean, we’re over $17 trillion in debt. We have deficits as far as the eye can see. We have immigration issues. We have poverty issues. I mean, why in the world would Congress get involved in college football?

Bill Hancock did a pretty darn good job of navigating through all the egos, personalities, selfishness and greed that surrounded the process.

There’s been a lot of talk about paying college athletes, especially lately with the Ed O’Bannon trial ongoing. Do you have a strong opinion on that issue?

To me, to answer your question, it’s not just a “yes” or “no.” To say that, OK, a coach makes $5 million a year and the players get nothing. Well, that’s not quite the truth. They get scholarships.

During my time, the value of that scholarship to me was probably $200,000 over a five-year period of time.

There is one one exception that I would make. My scholarship at the University of Oklahoma did nothing for me in terms of having a little bit of entertainment money, to have a little walk-around money, to have a little money for toiletries. … I do think there’s room to say that these young men and young women should get $150 or $200 a month — I don’t know what the magic number is — but I do think they should get some type of stipend.

by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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