The discussion to pay student athletes is a hot topic among NCAA institutions and leaders right now, and one that grows hotter by the month. While those discussions are generally held among school presidents, athletic directors and NCAA officials, it now seems like state representatives and congressmen and congresswomen want to get in on the action as well.
Earlier this week, Mississippi State Representative Omeria Scott -- representative for District 80 in south Mississippi -- proposed MS House Bill 188. The bill, if passed, would require Mississippi colleges that are "accepted to, participating in, and winning a bowl game" to set aside approximately 33% of the revenue they receive for the bowl and place it into an escrow account. That money will stay in escrow until the players on that year's team graduate, at which time they would receive their share. Here is the Bill summary:
AN ACT TO REQUIRE EVERY UNIVERSITY ELIGIBLE FOR A POSTSEASON BOWL GAME TO PLACE INTO AN ESCROW ACCOUNT 33% OF ALL REVENUE RECEIVED BY THE UNIVERSITY FOR BEING ACCEPTED INTO, PARTICIPATING IN, AND WINNING A BOWL GAME; TO REQUIRE THE UNIVERSITY TO DISTRIBUTE TO A GRADUATING ATHLETE HIS PRO RATA SHARE OF THE MONIES ACCUMULATED IN THE ESCROW ACCOUNT DURING THE ATHLETE'S ACTIVE ELIGIBILITY PERIOD; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
I am not sure when this bill would go before the house for debate and/or a vote, but it seems safe to say that this is something that won't pass. Even if it does, that doesn't mean it will be approved by the NCAA, who ultimately governs decisions affecting student athletes, whether we like it or not. Imagining for a second that the bill does pass though, the money would come from a smaller pot of revenue that the school receives from the SEC, who accumulates bowl revenues and distributes them to member institutions. At least that's how I think it works. If not, someone correct me, please.
If nothing else, this is an interesting angle on the "pay student athletes" debate, and one that I don't remember seeing anywhere else, at least not yet.