Ohio Legislators Review Proposed Student Athlete Stipends

By
Bethany Venable

Dateline
Updated Tue, Jan 17, 2012 1:50 pm

A bill before Ohio legislators would make it okay for universities in Ohio to pay student athletes up to $8,000, and one Ohio University professor says such a stipend would be no different than other money paid to scholarship students.

Dr. David Ridpath, a professor of Sports Administration, says the proposal from state Representative Clayton Luckie (D-Dayton) is not an outlandish idea. "From my personal perspective, I've always thought that athletes in all sports, because of the money that is being generated, certainly not by Ohio University, but I'm talking about college athletics overall, where there is money that can be shared amongst all universities, I do think that athletes deserve to earn up to the level of the most valuable scholarship on that campus," said Ridpath. He says schools often use sports as a marketing tool and student athletes deserve to be compensated for their role.
 
The bill would also allow outside sources to pay college athletes up to $4,000.  According to Luckie's proposal, NCAA Division I schools could pay athletes up to $8,000, Division II schools could pay up to $6,000 and other schools could offer stipends up to $4,000. Ridpath says while he doesn't necessarily agree with the $8,000 figure, stipends comparable with other student scholarships, such as ROTC, would be appropriate. He relates when he was a student in ROTC, he received a full scholarship and a stipend for spending money.  "Back then I think it was $100, now, I believe it can be up to $300," he said. 
 
The bill comes after Ohio State football players improperly sold memorabilia for tattoos and cash.  It would be somewhat naïve to think the proposed legislation would curtail illegal activities, says Ridpath, but it could offer another way to police them. "The one thing that I often tell people when we talk about a stipend for athletes: it would eliminate the excuses. So then we can feel a little bit better about punishing someone who goes outside the realms of the rules," said Ridpath.
 
Still, he says it isn't likely this bill will get far. "I mean I think we often see, whether it's even in the United States Congress at the federal level, you often see some bills that might seem outlandish that aren't really ever intended to pass. They're more just intended to shed some light on an issue that needs to be addressed," said Ridpath.
 
Last year, the NCAA approved a rule allowing student athletes stipends of up to $2,000.  It was suspended after at least 125 school rejected it. 
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