PSU's Barnes weighs in on pay-for-play
But other Big Ten players, including standouts, are paying close attention.
Penn State sophomore defensive end Deion Barnes, the 2012 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, took to Twitter earlier Monday to voice his opinion on the pay-for-play debate involving college athletes from revenue sports. Barnes began by tweeting that his initial excitement about having his likeness portrayed in the NCAA Football 2014 video game had been tempered, as he realized that many profited off of the game while he did not. The O'Bannon plaintiffs allege the NCAA, EA Sports and Collegiate Licensing Co., the nation's leading trademark and licensing firm, violated antitrust laws by using players' names, likenesses and images without compensating them at all.
The first years I was excited to have myself on NCAA football but now I c they making money off me and everybody on that game, I need a chec— Deion Barnes (@DBarnes_18) July 22, 2013
Barnes immediately began receiving responses -- many from those who also follow the Big Ten blog Twitter page, as we retweeted his initial comment -- and defended his position. He acknowledged that free tuition -- the primary argument against paying scholarship athletes -- is a great benefit, but noted that he doesn't have enough for basic living expenses.
Responding to one person who asked why he doesn't get a side job, Barnes tweeted that the year-round training demands placed on college football players make it difficult to work. That's absolutely true. Players are expected to work out throughout the offseason.
How u gonna say I'm ungrateful when season time come I'm scrambling up my money to get a winter coat?— Deion Barnes (@DBarnes_18) July 22, 2013
Y'all keep saying free tuition, I am grateful for that but how much of that goes in our pockets.. What about clothes and living?— Deion Barnes (@DBarnes_18) July 22, 2013
Barnes retweeted several comments supporting his position and also linked to a recent piece from ESPN.com's Lester Munson discussing the impact of recent developments in the case, including the NCAA cutting ties with EA Sports. In one of his last tweets, Barnes writes, "I'm just [sic] saying we should get some type of stipend or something."
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and other power brokers have advocated for an increase to the value of athletic scholarships, but there has been no movement nationally as of yet.
It's very interesting to see how current players, especially prominent ones like Barnes, are reacting to the O'Bannon case and the recent news. Will social media be a platform for other Big Ten stars to voice the opinions? Will the schools start instructing players to keep their opinions quiet?
Ultimately, more current players will join the lawsuit as Barnes certainly isn't alone in his view.