Indiana athletics has been on the forward-thinking side of the student-athlete rights topic in college sports. Fred Glass has quietly fought his conference colleagues for reforms within the Big Ten. Indiana cut high-salaried senior staff in half in Glass' administration in an effort to funnel more money to areas that directly benefit players. They put in the Bill of Rights program and the guaranteed lifetime scholarship Hoosiers for Life programs well before other schools across the nation. There might not be any athletic department willing to come out and say "pay the dang players" -- but Indiana's been about as close to that as exists within the NCAA's membership.
Or, maybe they might.
In a VICE Sports piece on the influx of money coming soon to Big Ten athletic departments, friend of the blog Kevin Trahan spoke to Kevin Wilson at Big Ten media days on the influx of cash and where that money should go. Wilson, as expected, didn't mince words in his reply.
"Oh, I'm all about (giving money to players), but my thing is, the way it's set up, it's going to players but it's not consistent in rate, because we don't want to pay the players. So we have cost of attendance, and every cost of attendance is different," he said at Big Ten media days. "It ought to be a flat fee–you're getting $400 a month, $500 a month. I'm about those guys—they can't work a job.
"My thing with paying players, I wish it was like a set flat fee, but because we're going to be 'amateur,' we take that out. We're gonna do cost of attendance, whatever that—whoever came up with that? Someone a lot smarter than me."
Of course, Wilson was his typical self in his reply too.
Kevin Wilson: "I wish we could pay players, but because they're 'amateur' it has to be cost of attendance. Whoever came up with that?"— Kevin Trahan (@k_trahan) July 26, 2016
Did he hit the NCAA's favorite empty, made-up word with the air quotes, too? Oh, he did.
The air quotes over "amateur" made my day.— Kevin Trahan (@k_trahan) July 26, 2016
If you're one who's naturally skeptical of the sporting body that says it's all about academia whilst member conferences are posturing for absurd money grabs on a daily basis, you could do a lot worse than Kevin Wilson as your team's football coach. Just don't hold your breath that his Big Ten colleagues will come around to the same position.