How complicated is the whole idea of paying players to play college football? That all depends on whom you are asking. If you happen to ask USC Athletics Director Pat Haden about it, he will compare it to one of the most classic puzzles of all time.
“Pay-for-play is a Rubik’s cube that no one has quite figured out yet,” Haden said in a Q&A with USC’s athletics blog. “I have been beating the drum for two years about doing more for our student-athletes. However, with Title IX and NCAA rules, it is never that simple.”
Haden has been one to speak in favor of new ideas and share his thoughts as the world of collegiate athletics evolves. The move to have the power conferences have the authority to work under a different set of rules from the rest of Division 1 is making the idea of providing more for student-athletes a popular one if a school has the resources. USC, in all likelihood, would have the resources available. Haden still says there is plenty to figure out.
“If pay-for-play became the standard, we would probably have to pay not just football players, but all of our student-athletes something or we could be in violation of Title IX,” Haden said. “And of course, paying student-athletes is a violation of NCAA rules, thus the Rubik’s cube. I think covering the full cost of attendance is a step in the right direction in addition to what we already do for student-athletes, which is considerable.”
Haden also commented on the push for autonomy, which will be voted on later this summer by the conference commissioners. The USC AD seems to be in favor of it but suggests just because it gets adopted does not mean every school will be able to capitalize on it.
“We have to acknowledge that some schools and athletic departments have more resources than others, and each needs to do the right things for their student-athletes,” Haden said. “The potential new rules, like feeding players or paying the full cost of attendance, would be considered “permissive legislation” I would hope, so each school would figure out on its own what it can do up to the allowable, but it is not mandatory.”
Hey, a Rubik’s cube is really difficult sometimes.