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The Source: Should We Pay College Athletes?

Laremy Tunsil answering questions after being drafted by Miami Dolphins

Last week the flash and glitz of the NFL Draft were dimmed by the controversy over one of its most sought after recruits, Laremy Tunsil. Tunsil, an offensive linebacker from Ole Miss, was expected to be picked high in the first round, but compromising photos of him were leaked right before the draft and were followed by screen shots of his text messages asking Ole Miss coaches for money to pay his bills. 

Miami ultimately drafted him 13th, but when Tunsil confirmed the text messages were authentic in a post-draft interview, he opened back up the debate over paying college players.

The NCAA, which make nearly a billion dollars each year off of College football and basketball, ferociously battled paying players, ending up before an antitrust judge last year.

The NCAA has long held student athletes didn't deserve payment beyond their college scholarships because among other reasons they were amateurs, but does that reason hold up?

And as Tunsil illustrates - and we have seen the past several decades - programs willing to pay their top players are not isolated.

Is it time to pay student athletes? 


  • David Grenardo, Law Professor at St. Mary's University, and former college athlete.
  • Amy Perko, executive director of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics

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Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org