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S.C. Coach Speaks Out in Favor of Student-Athlete Stipends

University of South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier voiced his support yesterday for paying collegiate student-athletes in revenue-producing sports an additional $3,500 to $4,000 a year, ESPN.com reported.

The only problem is, Spurrier's proposal is dead-on-arrival, barring major changes to the enforcement of Title IX.

Currently, the NCAA has tabled a plan that calls for allowing schools to award their student-athletes with a stipend worth up to $2,000, provided it didn't exceed the full cost of tuition. The NCAA board of directors initially approved the proposal in October, but it was overridden by late December when more than 125 schools signed an override petition.

The board of directors will be seeking input from schools on the concept of student-athlete stipends in the coming months. One such proposal being floated, according to The Birmingham News: Only award a stipend to students who demonstrate a need by applying through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Spurrier said of his plan yesterday, "We're trying to get extra money for living expense, academic expense, game-related expense to our players because of the tremendous amount of money—billions—they're bringing (in)."

During last year's Southeastern Conference spring meetings, Spurrier floated the idea of allowing schools to pay football players $300 per game, but it never moved past the conceptual phase.

Like his proposal last year, this "pay the revenue-producing athletes" idea won't fly with Title IX looming.

In a recent interview with Nancy Hogshead-Makar, the senior director of advocacy for the Women's Sports Foundation, I specifically asked her about the concept of student-athlete stipends and how Title IX would affect them. She said, in no uncertain terms, Title IX would come into play if the NCAA moves forward with student-athlete stipends, meaning that schools couldn't simply award them to male football and basketball players without extending the same opportunity to female athletes.

Since most nonfootball and men's basketball programs aren't turning a consistent profit, many schools appear to have concerns about having to extend the stipend past revenue-producing-sport athletes.

"What we're saying is the revenue-income sports, certainly football, would need a possibility of sharing the income that's being produced, paying it back to those guys," said Louisiana State University head coach Les Miles to ESPN.com. "It would be a difficult task putting it to work, but I think it's something we all want to push forward."

Difficult? Try unfeasible, in its current proposed state.

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