Athletic Director of the Navy, Chet Gladchuck has said that American college football players will "at some point" start to get a cut of the multi-billion dollar industry.
Currently college football players are considered amateurs, and, as a result, do not receive direct payment for their services. However, as the money in the sport continues to grow so do calls for players to receive more than just their free tuition.
Speaking on Thursday's OTB AM, Gladchuck defended the current set-up saying that it was important not to lose the "character of college athletics," but noted that at the end of the day "the athlete is the show."
Traditionally college players have their tuition, lodgings and meals covered by their college, which according to Gladchuck is, "not bad compensation" considering the cost of tuition in the top football colleges can be $70,000-$80,000 per annum.
However, now as the top college, Texas A&M University, can generate yearly revenue of over $150 million from their football team the calls to give athletes more financial reward are becoming harder to ignore.
Gladchuck, who is also a former Athletic Director of Boston College and University of Houston, explained that there is a "tug of war" taking place in college athletics between the "purity of amateurism" and education and "the semi-professional connotation that seems to be creeping into college athletics at large."
In recent years the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the regulation body of North American college sport, has defended the status quo by saying that paying athletes will harm their education and defer from their primary aim of obtaining quality education. According to Gladchuck this argument worked when the money players were getting for their education and that being earned by colleges was "comparable," however now the disparity is becoming increasingly hard to justify and maintain.
"Now the money that is coming into the schools, the salaries being paid to college coaches and the salaries being paid to their assistants because of the influx of television dollars – I wouldn't say it’s greed but there is a dimension of uncertainty and a dimension of being uncomfortable that there is so much money being infused into college athletics – shouldn't players get a piece of that?"