As he stood in front of the crowd at the Mitchell quarterback club meeting, Wednesday at the Depot in Mitchell, University of South Dakota Athletic Director David Herbster was asked if he was in favor of paying student athletes. His answer was a quick and firm no.
“The NCAA, in its essence, is an amateur organization and I guess I came up with the belief that the participation is voluntary,” Herbster said. “You have the right to choose where you want to go. To me the scholarship is your payment, it is your salary, it is no different than a student on a physics scholarship. What athletes are going to get unlike many other students, is the chance to potentially leave school without the debt of $50,000.”
The issue on whether student athletes should be paid has become a hot button topic over the last few years as the business of college athletics continues to grow. But the topic gained new life when Northwestern University football players won a ruling with the National Labor Relations Board that gave the players the right to unionize.
“I still think the situation is tough because if you are going to pay players then you are saying one athlete is worth more than another,” Herbster said. “We are all at Division I. I understand there is a difference between Division I, II, III and NAIA, but to me it is too much of a slippery slope to start paying athletes for their services. If players are going to get paid then they are an employee and they should be treated as such, so they would have the right to unionize.”
Herbster attended the meeting with USD head football coach Joe Glenn and associate head coach/offensive coordinator Wesley Beschorner. All three men took the time out to speak to anyone interested in Coyote sports Wednesday.
Glenn and Beschorner both talked about the team’s spring ball and who fans should look out for this season. Beschorner also said he thinks former Coyote linebacker Tyler Starr could be drafted between rounds 5 to 7 in next week’s NFL draft.
USD kicks off its football season against perennial Pac 12-power Oregon Aug. 30 in Eugene, Ore.
“We are real excited about the 2014 season,” Glenn said. “We are ready to get after it against Oregon. They are one of the top teams in the country and we will in no short time get a good measuring stick of where we are at.”