Athletes want a piece of the pie
Basketball, football players look for cut of NCAA TV revenue
More than 300 college football and basketball players, including 65 from Arizona, have signed a petition asking the NCAA to take a cut out of TV revenue and use the money to help cover the full cost of attending college, the Arizona Daily Star reported Tuesday.
The petition asks that the NCAA pay for all sports-related medical expenses, protect injured athletes from losing their scholarships, grant multiyear scholarships instead of renewing them annually and raise scholarship money by about $3,200 per year — enough to cover more of the living costs that come from attending college.
The petition also asks the NCAA to set aside a portion of TV revenue for football and basketball players to use to attend school once their eligibility expires, with full access to any remaining money once they graduate.
The group of UA players, led by wide receiver David Roberts, made the UA the first of five schools — Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Purdue, UCLA and Arizona — to send the petition to NCAA president Mark Emmert last week.
Arizona basketball forward Solomon Hill said he hasn’t seen or signed the petition, but agreed that helping athletes graduate should be one of the NCAA’s top priorities.
“I haven’t really heard of that but it sounds like a great thing,” Hill said. “Any time you can have money to finish school it’s always a great thing.”
Hill said varying costs that aren’t directly related to school — mainly living and transportation, things that vary from person to person — can’t be covered by the monthly stipend that athletes receive.
But while Hill focused on a potential increase of the monthly stipend, head coach Sean Miller said it’s important for former athletes that have used all of their eligibility without graduating to be able to return to school and graduate.
“I think any time we can have a student-athlete graduate, it’s a great success,” Miller said. “That’s the name of the game … anything that would support that, I would be a heavy supporter.”
Safety Robert Golden, who signed the petition, said that while the money that would be put away for college after eligibility is up would be nice, the extra money included in the monthly stipend would make day-to-day living a little easier.
Golden said that Roberts first brought up the petition with a large group of players, and all were in favor.
“You have bills to pay, gas from traveling back and forth from your house,” Golden said. “It’d help the athletes out a lot.”