Texas Prepared To Pay Players

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The University of Texas is ready to pay its athletes $10,000 a year to comply with recent rulings that will enhance the value of a college scholarship for those who play sports.

Texas athletic director Steve Patterson said at a forum this week that the school wouldn’t have a problem footing the bill for the extra $6 million per year that it will cost for its players. The money will cover athletes’ expenses beyond a scholarship and pay $5,000 for use of the athletes’ image.

But it will force schools to change their business model as students become more like employees or semi-pro athletes. Men’s basketball and football generate nearly all the revenue in major athletic programs.

“If we begin to (further) remunerate the participants, that’s going to break that model,” said Chris Plonsky, who is in charge of women’s sports at Texas.

Former U.S. Rep. Tom McMillen of Maryland said colleges need to be ready for adapt to a new structure in college athletics.

“We’re in for a period of dynamic change,” said McMillen, an All-America basketball player at Maryland and a 1972 Olympian. “The system has to change. The money needs to be handled differently.

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