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American commish Aresco says paying players will lead to 'ruin'

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

Mike Aresco said Wednesday he is firmly, fundamentally against paying college athletes. (DePaul Athletics)
Mike Aresco said Wednesday he is firmly, fundamentally against paying college athletes. (DePaul Athletics)

If you're waiting on a major college commissioner to court the undertaking of paying college athletes, you're not going to find it in the new American Athletic Conference.

At the league's media day in Memphis Wednesday, league commissioner Mike Aresco (who we questioned on a number of topics with his all-new conference last spring) said, "We will not pay players."

Aresco did hedge a bit, adding that player stipends weren't out of the question. Stipends would provide all college athletes a little bonus money to help with compensation for the cost of attendance.

"We will not establish an employer-employee relationship," Aresco said, according to a report by the Associated Press. "That's not what college sports is about, and it is the road to ruin. The amateur model may be strained. There's no question there's issues. But with intelligent work and revisions, it can continue to work. It has to work."

In the current collegiate climate, the discussion of if/how/where/when to pay college athletes has been increasing in volume over the past half-decade. It shows no signs of quieting, despite a lack of action. The inability to determine a solution proves there is no easy way to appeasing both sides on what's now the most divisive issue in college sports. Philosophies vary, but there remains a constant: those in power are nearly uniform in their opposition to using school money to pay college athletes that are on scholarship.

One more note regarding stipends: The NCAA passed a rule nearly two years ago that allowed $2,000 per player per school. But it was mostly the big schools, with the biggest budgets, voting for it. After a majority of smaller schools voted against the stipend -- because they can't afford it -- it was taken off the table.

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