On the same day NCAA president Mark Emmert advocated greater grants given to student-athletes, a group of football and men's basketball players sent a petition to the NCAA asking for a cut of the ever-growing TV revenue pie.
Players from five institutions, including Purdue, are asking the NCAA to "realize its mission to educate and protect us with integrity." The players want the NCAA and university presidents to set aside a certain amount of money from the skyrocketing TV revenues and increase grants to a mandatory $3,200 per athlete (the NCAA's proposal for the grant increase would be optional).
Players could tap those funds to help cover educational costs if they exhaust their athletic eligibility before they graduate. And they could receive what's left of the money allocated to them with no strings attached upon graduating -- a step that would undoubtedly be seen by some as professionalizing college sports.
Boilermakers QB Rob Henry spearheaded the effort at Purdue, getting 72 of his teammates to sign the petition.
"Without the athletes, there are no Division I sports," Henry said. "There are no TV contracts, there are no coaches' contracts. Athletes should be the number one priority."
Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke also weighed in, expressing concern that some schools that struggle to turn a profit in athletics would have a hard time increasing grants to student-athletes or setting aside money from TV revenue.
"Without identifying a funding mechanism, it is hard to see how many of these schools would be able to pay this added amount, which -- depending upon the number of student-athletes -- could approximate $1 million a year," Burke said.
The TV money is insane these days in college sports, and the players' case for a larger cut of the pie makes sense. One of the problems, as Burke mentions, is that each institution is in a different position financially and how it uses TV revenue.
What are your thoughts?