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NCAA pay issue could shift UDM sports landscape

By LAUREN RELICH / VN Staff Writer
On September 23, 2014

Hundreds of University of Detroit Mercy students play on the Titans’ Division I teams.

What would it be like here if student-athletes start getting paid to play?

In August, the NCAA voted to grant greater autonomy to the Pac-12, Big Ten, ACC, Big 12 and SEC conferences, which was said to include potential pay for those college athletes.

Could that mean UDM will also eventually receive more leeway for paying its student-athletes?

According to Assistant Athletic Director Steve Corder, it could be a possibility.

“I think the NCAA landscape is shifting,” Corder said. “As a university and department we have to be ready to shift accordingly, or there is a chance we will be left behind.”

However, he sees potential problems with paying student-athletes.

“I think that if we, and the NCAA, find a way to provide further financial assistance to the student-athletes, we will all have to work diligently to ensure it is done in a manner to avoid potential pitfalls,” he said. “Therefore, it is extremely important that all possible scenarios are assessed and evaluated prior to establishing a policy and method of payment.”

Predictably, many Titan student-athletes like the idea of being paid.

“I feel like we should,” said freshman cheerleader Courtney Smith.

The awards to Titan athletes vary from full-ride scholarships to much smaller amounts.

“We do get free books right now, which helps out a lot,” Smith noted.

Smith believes all student-athletes – not just those in the most recognized sports, like football and basketball – should be compensated for their skills.

There are many pros and cons to the issue.

Paid athletes would have one less thing to worry about: finances. That way, goes one argument, they could focus solely on athletics and academics and not have to worry about outside interference.

But, on the other hand, where would that money coming from?

Could UDM financially support paying its athletes?

“I feel like they would because with players being paid people would try and donate more money so that they could get high-profile players,” said sophomore basketball point guard Jarod Williams. “I think that would be really cool. I would actually love that.” 

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