Athletes in college deserve pay/Paul Peterson

The Johnny Manziel case currently in the court of public opinion just may open doors for college athletes in the future.

Just about anyone who follows sports is aware that “Johnny Football” is being investigated by the NCAA for taking money for autographs he signed on memorabilia this summer.

Manziel’s legal counsel maintains that their client merely signed the autographs and took no money.

The bigger issue here is whether college athletes should receive a stipend from the universities they represent – and make a ton of money for – in the future.

It’s no secret that the football factories (Oklahoma, Alabama, LSU, USC, etc.) in the country already make sure their athletes receive, what I’ll call remuneration, for their services.

But what about the rest of the teams? It would be extremely naive to suggest that extra financial help isn’t offered by most “big” school powerhouses.

The number of sanctions and penalties handed out by the NCAA tell us that pretty conclusively.

Manziel, who won the Heisman Trophy last season at Texas A&M as a freshman, was turned in by a disgruntled ticket broker.

The NCAA, which also makes money off the talents of players like Manziel, will now determine if he committed a cardinal sin.

His case is no different than that of former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who took money for game uniforms he wore.

And consider the “Fab Five” scandal at the University of Michigan in the early 1990s. Some of the stars on those teams allegedly received loans from a Wolverines backer, who was reportedly waiting for repayment after the players signed a fat pro contract.

The U of M would later be penalized by the NCAA, and the banners they won in that era were taken down. Chris Webber, the central figure in the scandal, was found guilty of perjuring himself before a grand jury and paid a big fine.

Wouldn’t it make more sense for the universities to come out and pay their athletes who are filling their stadiums and the school coffers?

It wouldn’t have to be any large figure. Maybe a $1,000 a month per diem would be a starting point.

Such action might avert what is becoming a monthly story on the sports pages and broadcasts.