Mizzou athletes and administrators weigh in on new NCAA pay to play

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COLUMBIA, Mo. – After years of debate, the NCAA has opened the door for student-athletes to get paid for their image and likeness in college sports.

Mizzou head football coach Barry Odom says change is on the way and whatever it looks like, it will help student-athletes.

“Everyone has a different story. A different upbringing,” Odom said. “We have a number of guys that with the money they get now, with the scholarship check, a lot of that goes home.”

St. Louis native and Mizzou basketball player Torrence Watson is doing a class project on the coming NCAA changes.

“We get enough to survive on our own but you have to think about the possibility of them having to send money home and trying to survive on their own as well,” he said.

Watson says all student-athletes should have a right to make money. His idea is to keep it in an account for when their eligibility ends.

His teammate Mark Smith, an Edwardsville native, says he survives on scholarship money but agrees that student-athletes should have an opportunity to make money.

“I feel like if you budget your money … I have been working on saving checks, so save some (money) every month,” he said. “It just depends on how you live your life.”

University of Missouri Athletic Director Jim Sterk says now that the NCAA has voted to allow student-athletes to benefit from their name, image, and likeness, the real work begins. Divisions I, II, and III schools have been told to create new rules consistent within the current college model.

“The devil will be in the details and how do you make that work in a collegiate model and making it work so there is a definitive line between collegiate and pro,” he said.

The big change: young men and women can make extra money outside of often free or reduced tuition, as well as room and board.

At present, NCAA full-scholarship athletes have their tuition paid and receive three full meals a day, including snacks. At Mizzou, athletes receive an additional $1,478.59 a month for 10 months a year to cover off-campus living expenses.

A student living in the dorms gets a little less and that amount could differ depending on where the college is.

Sterk says the NCAA goal is to find ways athletes can make additional money in something unrelated to their sport. He’s not even sure athletes would be able to make money signing autographs or from signed jerseys.

“People are going to get paid for their image and likeness, that was word on street. That hasn’t happened yet,” he said. “It’s going to be a year from now.”

This is not the Fair Play to Pay Act that California recently signed into law. In California, athletes can be paid for endorsements like appearing in an advertisement. However, the NCAA strongly opposes that law.

The NCAA has already made some changes by increasing the monthly stipend.

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