We have heard from former college players, fans, coaches and analysts for years. Now the leader of the free world has chimed in. President Barack Obama said in an interview colleges must take greater responsibilities in providing for student-athletes, challenged the NCAA to address rules violation enforcement for players and that compensation for student-athletes in addition to a scholarship appears to be a slippery slope.
“[T]he students need to be taken better care of because they are generating a lot of revenue here,” Obama told The Huffington Post in an interview. “An immediate step that the NCAA could take — that some conferences have already taken — is if you offer a scholarship to a kid coming into school, that scholarship sticks, no matter what.”
Obama’s comments come at a time when the power conferences in college sports are moving to a new level with autonomy and the ability t provide more to student-athletes. Conferences outside the power group are also committing to keeping up on as many levels as possible. Changes are coming just as soon as the power conferences work out the finer details of the new power structure. Obama has made a push for providing college education, so his comments on this subject should come as no surprise.
President Obama also added players suffering injury should have medical coverage provided by the university, which has been a sketchy issue at times. However, the President did stop short of suggesting players should be compensated beyond the full cost of attendance scholarships.
“In terms of compensation, I think the challenge would just then start being, do we really want to just create a situation where there are bidding wars?” Obama said. “And that I do think would ruin the sense of college sports.”
One of the biggest issues the NCAA continues to be criticized for is enforcing rules meant to uphold the discipline of the collegiate sports world in a different era without so much revenue to share. It is an issue the NCAA ha struggled to adapt with over the years, and Obama joins the many who have pointed out the problem.
“What does frustrate me is where I see coaches getting paid millions of dollars, athletic directors getting paid millions of dollars, the NCAA making huge amounts of money, and then some kid gets a tattoo or gets a free use of a car and suddenly they’re banished,” Obama said in the interview. “That’s not fair.”
You can read the full story and interview from The Huffington Post.