By Jimmy Hyams
SANDESTIN, FLA.– The California legislature just took a step toward paying student-athletes for their name, imagine and likeness and possibly for endorsements and autographs.
That doesn’t mean the NCAA will follow suit.
It doesn’t mean the SEC will, either.
Paying athletes for their likeness has been a topic during the SEC Spring Meetings this week.
Tennessee men’s basketball coach Rick Barnes doesn’t feel comfortable discussing the issue.
“That’s a tough one because I don’t know right now what I would think about it,’’ Barnes said.
“I understand the revenue sports being football and basketball. But I also have a tremendous amount of respect for our Olympic athletes and how hard they work.
“So the question is, where does it stop? Where does it start? I don’t know.
“I do think that universities are doing everything they can do make it as fair as they possibly can for everybody.’’
Does Barnes see a day when student-athletes do get paid?
“There are a lot of students on our campus that would tell you they are getting paid because there’s a lot of students that leave college with quite a bit of debt to pay back college loans,’’ Barnes said.
“There are parents that are paying for their kids right now that would say they would love to have scholarships some way, somehow. You can make a case that in some ways, they are getting paid.’’
So does Barnes see student-athletes getting paid beyond a scholarship?
“My gut feeling is, I don’t think so because they do have a full cost of tuition, full cost of attendance and there are funds in place that if something comes up that they need for an emergency fund.
“There’s a lot of things that go into it. But again, where does it start? Where does it stop?’’