Kentucky's Mosley says petition project gives 'a voice to athletes nationwide'

mstory@herald-leader.comOctober 26, 2011 

Anthony Mosley, University of Kentucky football player.

Long after Kentucky's football practice ended Tuesday, UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart could be seen deep in conversation with Anthony Mosley.

Asked later what the two had been talking about, Mosley said, "I'm not going to comment on that."

We can all probably guess.

On Monday, an advocacy group for college athletes, the National College Players Association, said 59 UK athletes were among more than 300 football and men's basketball players from five schools around the country to sign a petition asking the NCAA for a greater cut of the TV sports revenue generated from the telecasts of major-college sports.

The NCPA said it was Mosley who gathered the signatures from his Kentucky teammates.

In a joint news release issued Tuesday, the NCPA and the Drexel University Department of Sports Management said total television revenues from college sports broadcasts are now $1.8 billion a year.

According to the release, the NCPA expects the burgeoning revenue to be spent on "luxury athletic facilities and salary increases for coaches and administrators."

Besides UK, athletes from Arizona, Georgia Tech, Purdue and UCLA signed the petition asking that more of that bounty go to the players whose labor produces it.

Asked Tuesday what his message would be to fans who think major-college scholarship athletes who get tuition, books, board and room paid for "have it made," Mosley thought for just a moment.

"I guess my message would just be the price of entertainment is expensive. And that is what we do here," he said. "We're fighting for a few extra bucks, just a little bit more a semester. We're not trying to get over-compensated or get rich off the deal. We're just looking for a few extra bucks to help guys who don't get as (many) benefits as we do here at Kentucky."

A fifth-year senior from Ellenwood, Ga., the soft-spoken Mosley is a starting cornerback who has already earned a degree in community communications and leadership development. He began work on a master's degree in political science this fall.

In the past, he has said his long-term goal is to become White House press secretary.

Surrounded by reporters Tuesday after his conversation with Barnhart had ended, Mosley smiled and said, "It's always good to get a little bit of practice" handling the media.

His involvement with the NCPA began, Mosley said, when he responded to a mass email from Ramogi Huma, the ex-UCLA linebacker who is president of the group.

"This is an internship I found out via email, actually," Mosley said. "It came through a few times in my email. I replied to it, probably, 15 times before I got in contact with Ramogi Huma. It was myself and five other athletes from other schools across the country. We just have conference calls, just little short projects. This petition was one of (the projects)."

The petition that Mosley and some of his teammates signed calls on the NCAA and college presidents to set aside some of the new TV revenue being generated for an "educational lockbox" that football and men's basketball players could draw on to continue their education after their athletics eligibility expired.

In the petition, the athletes also call for sports scholarships to be multi-year, not year-to-year as they are now. They also seek to forbid schools from pulling the scholarships of permanently injured players while requiring universities to pay all costs of the sports-related medical expenses of the injured players.

NCAA President Mark Emmert recently endorsed the idea of increasing the value of full-ride athletics scholarships by $2,000 a year in order to more fully account for "the cost of attendance" at universities.

The NCAA Division I Board of Directors is also considering the idea of making scholarships multi-year.

At Kentucky, any scholarship athlete who completes their eligibility before they've earned a degree can apply to the UK Athletics Association for continued financial assistance to stay in school and complete their degree as long as they are making a good-faith effort to finish, Kentucky football spokesman Tony Neely said.

UK players who suffer injuries that render them permanently unable to play their sport can apply for a medical hardship and, if approved by the conference office, stay on full scholarship without counting against the NCAA limit in their sport, Neely said.

Mosley went to lengths Tuesday to emphasize that UK treats its athletes well.

"This is trying to give a voice to athletes nationwide," he said. "This is not institution specific, it's not specific to Kentucky. It's a national issue where we wanted to bring a little attention to some of the goings on of the NCAA. Like I said, this isn't a Kentucky issue."

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