The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) took the bold step today by ending the amateur status of the student-athletes at its more than 250 member schools throughout North America.
“We believe in fairness in the NAIA and its time our athletes get a cut of the profits they bring in,” said NAIA president Jim Carr. “While almost none of our schools make a cent in profit off of athletics, we’d still like to give our hard-working athletes a little something.”
Beginning with the Spring 2014 athletics schedule, every NAIA athlete will receive a check for $0.45 after completing an entire season of competition.
“That’s real money they can use towards paying their bills or getting some penny candy, if that’s still a thing that exists,” said Carr. “And, remember, many NAIA athletes play two sports, so their take will approach a whole dollar.”
NAIA schools will raise the money to pay their athletes by passing a hat around at their sparsely-attended games and also by taking change out of campus fountains.
Jeff Crane, a pitcher at tiny Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, KY, says he appreciates the move made by the NAIA.
“Is 45 cents a lot? No it is not,” said Crane. “Especially considering that we all have to supply our own gloves and baseballs and spikes and hats and uniforms and team bus in order to even field a team. But it’s better than nothing.”
The NAIA’s move will put added pressure on the NCAA as the push to compensate athletes Division I athletes intensifies. But SEC commissioner Mike Slive said he has no comment “at this time” on paying players.
“I honestly never even heard of the NAIA before today,” he said. “So it’s like really small college programs? Huh. Do you think any of them would want to play some non-conference football games against the SEC? We’ll pay them.”