SIU athletic director ‘cautiously interested’ in college athlete compensation

NCAA votes in favor of "Pay to Play"

CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) - On Tuesday, the NCAA Board of Governors voted unanimously to clear the way for amateur athletes to profit from their names, images and likenesses.

Meanwhile, Southern Illinois University’s new Athletic Director, Liz Jarnigan, said she supports student athletes being able to get endorsements, but wants to slow the process down to fully consider its impact.

This announcement comes on the heels of a similar announcement in Illinois on Monday. Governor JB Pritzker announced his support for the legislation and called on lawmakers to pass it during the veto session.

At least a dozen other states are considering similar legislation.

Since May, a group of NCAA administrators have been exploring the ways in which athletes could be allowed to receive compensation for the use of their names, images and likenesses.

“I’m cautiously interested in this concept,” said Jarnigan. “I am for the concept in general and the NCAA and perhaps the national legislative level addressing this issue to make sure we are treating the students fairly, but concerned where we’re at right now.”

Some of the potential issues Jarnigan is worried about are the exploitation of the student athletes and whether this next step will create inequalities between genders.

Sports Media student at SIU, Moyea Russell, said that’s a fair concern.

“Hopefully there will be similar deals for the women because if you look at Serena Williams - she gets the big deals too. Obviously, it’s doable for females to get equal if not similar endorsements," Russell said.

Jarnigan believes there needs to be a discussion about the value of education moving forward.

School of Engineering senior Kurt Borgsmiller said student athletes are just that - students and athletes.

“Yeah, the student athletes are here to get an education, but they’re putting probably as much time into their sport as their education, so I think they should get recognized for that and rewarded for that," Borgsmiller said.

He said he supports student athletes getting their slice of the pie.

“Someone is getting paid for it," he continued. "I think it might as well should be the student athletes on the field doing the work and not some administrative person.”

Another SIU student, Alan Budz, is an avid sports fan and also agreed student athletes should be paid.

“If it’s a private company that’s endorsing you and it’s not through the school, that should be 100 percent fine,” Budz said.

Ultimately, Jarnigan said she wants address this issue on a national level.

“In a way that preserves the amateur model but also a way that preserves students athletes,” she said.

Pritzker released the following joint statement after the NCAA announcement.

“It’s clear that student-athletes deserve to have rights in a billion-dollar industry they helped build...," he said. "Today is a victory for student-athletes around the country who are fighting for fairness and equity.”

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