U.S. Sen. Rand Paul thinks corruption in college sports might be curbed if athletes could get payments when they leave college for endorsing products during their time in school.
Paul’s suggestion Friday at a Lexington news conference came on the heels of Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s declaration earlier this week on Paducah radio station WKYX that college athletes should be paid.
“I think we should pay college athletes,” Bevin said. “I really do. This idea that they’re not professionals is nonsense.
“They’re not there like normal students and we shouldn’t pretend that they are,” the Republican governor continued. “Some of them, yes, go to class, but most of them are students differently because they’re there for athletics and not academics.”
The issue of compensation for college athletes has intensified in recent days with disclosure of an FBI investigation of college basketball recruiting. The FBI has charged 10 people in the wire fraud and money laundering case, which has led to the suspension of Rick Pitino as head basketball coach at the University of Louisville.
Asked about the investigation Friday, Paul, R-Bowling Green, said he has “no answer” for the current scandal but he would let athletes sign contracts in college to endorse products and give them their deferred earnings from those endorsements when they leave college.
Such a move, he said, not only would keep college athletes in school longer but might prevent the breaking of recruiting rules “if the rules were a little more open.”
Many college student athletes come from poor backgrounds, he said. Some financial incentives to keep them in college longer would help, he said.