The Big Ten will reportedly earn $1 billion annually for seven years as part of its new massive TV contracts with FOX, NBC and CBS. The conference announced the agreement on Thursday.
The conference will distribute much of the money to the universities and their respective athletics departments. Universities will use that money to pay administrators and coaches, some of whom are already making millions a year.
But as of now, athletes won’t see a dime of the contract.
Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren suggested that could change. In excerpts of a “Real Sports With Bryant Gumble” interview released on Friday, Warren said “yes” when asked if he foresees a day when college athletes are paid.
“Those are the things that we have to resolve,” he said. “We have to. So I want to be part of this conversation, and will be part of this conversation of what we can do to make this better.”
As news emerged of the Big Ten’s new contract, players reacted. Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud said he would like to see some of the revenue.
“This game is amazing, especially the college atmosphere, because it does have amateurism to it,” Stroud, a leading Heisman Trophy candidate, said, according to the Columbus Dispatch. “That’s definitely a plus. But at the same time, I’m not 100% sure what our tuition is, but I’m sure it’s not the worth of what we’re actually worth. My mom has always told me to know my worth.”
Ohio State’s athletics director argued to reporters that the revenue goes to support athletes.
“That’s how we fund those positions,” Smith said. “That’s how we fund this building. That’s how we fund the new field in the stadium. That’s how we fund security we need for 103,000 people in the stadium, and maybe 30,000 outside for the tailgate while the game is going on.”
While NCAA rules prohibit colleges from directly paying their athletes, players have been able to cash in off “name, image and likeness” deals. Amid pressure from state and federal lawmakers, the NCAA changed its rules to allow players to sign endorsement deals.
Even then, some universities have limited the type of deals their athletes can sign.