Legislation requiring public universities to pay student athletes in Division I sports up to $50,000 upon graduation failed in the Senate Education Committee last night on a 4-4-1 vote. Those legislators voting for the measure included Senators Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown), Reggie Tate (D-Memphis), Charlotte Burks (D-Monterey), and Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City).
If passed, the bill would have put Tennessee schools at odds with the NCAA. Paying athletes in such a way is a clear violation of current NCAA bylaws. And further, for schools like UT Martin and UT Chattanooga whose athletic programs are not self-supporting, the 1% required contribution to the ‘Student Athlete Trust Fund’ would come straight out of the academic enterprise–funded largely by state appropriations and tuition dollars.
Lou Hanemann of the UT Office of Government Relations and Advocacy talks with WKRN about the issue in the short video below.Athletics, Student Athlete Trust Fund