• Tennessee senator proposes solution for NCAA's athletes to get paid

    By: Kirstin Garriss

    Updated:

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - One Shelby County lawmaker wants the debate over paying college-athletes to end now. 

    Republican state Senator Brian Kelsey disagrees with the NCAA and thinks it is time for student-athletes to get paid.  

    Kelsey introduced a resolution, which urged all nine of Tennessee’s public universities to take a stand against the NCAA’s policy.

    “[It’s] overdue - I say five years ago. It’s a billion-dollar industry, you know, why can’t they get a little bit?” questioned Vincent Scullark, a Memphis Tigers fan.

    The NCAA states its’ policy allows tens of thousands of student athletes to earn their college degrees debt-free each year. 

    But in Kelsey's resolution he said, “A free education is not adequate compensation for talented athletes who put their health and/or future earnings at stake when playing college sports. These are extremely rigorous programs which bring in a lot of money.”

    FOX13 talked with fans attending the first day of the American Athletic Conference in Memphis.

    Many of them agree with Kelsey’s resolution.

    “They’re in there having fun but at the same time, they have lives and they have expenses to keep them out of trouble," Scullark said. "You know to keep them on the straight and narrow so their mind can be on basketball and not where is my meal going to come from."

    Senator Kelsey wants the state’s nine public universities to work with their respective athletic conference to implement a system that is fair for students.

    Kelsey said this will primarily affect men’s basketball and football teams, but if the sport brings in major revenue, then student-athletes should get some of it.

    At this time, the University of Memphis’ athletic department did not have a comment about the resolution. 

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