Originally published February 11, 2020 at 10:37a.m., updated February 11, 2020 at 01:37p.m.

KU would support student-athlete compensation, chancellor says at congressional hearing

University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas Girod testifies at a congressional hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, that KU would support the opportunity for student-athletes to earn money through their name, image and likeness.

University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas Girod testifies at a congressional hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, that KU would support the opportunity for student-athletes to earn money through their name, image and likeness.


At a congressional hearing on student-athlete compensation, University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas Girod said that if an opportunity arose for student-athletes to earn value from their names, images or likenesses, KU would support it.

“As a university chancellor, one of my responsibilities is to support opportunities for students while they are enrolled at KU — whether that is an internship, a chance to study abroad, or a chance to do research with a company in our region,” he testified Tuesday morning in Washington, D.C. “Today, I want to support this new opportunity for those student-athletes who have the potential to earn money while competing at our institution.”

Girod said that it was clear to him that in the interest of “national consistency, fairness and equity,” a federal solution was required, as opposed to a “patchwork” of state legislation.

In September, California passed a law that would enable college athletes to have endorsement deals, preventing universities from restricting student-athletes from profiting off of their names, images and likenesses (NIL).

Currently, there is NIL litigation pending in over half of states, NCAA President Mark Emmert said. He concurred with Girod in his opinion that nationwide legislation is needed.

Emmert and Girod were two of five witnesses to testify at the hearing on Tuesday, which was titled “Name, Image, and Likeness: The State of Intercollegiate Athlete Compensation.” U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican, led the hearing.

The other witnesses were Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, National College Players Association Executive Director Ramogi Huma and NCAA student-athlete advisory committee chair Kendall Spencer.

“KU acknowledges that it is a new day in college athletics,” Girod said. He emphasized the importance of prioritizing the interests and welfare of student athletes and preserving the collegiate athletic model.

“The bottom line is, there are ways to allow student-athletes to benefit from name, image and likeness while maintaining the benefits of the collegiate athletic model,” he said.

More than 98% of student-athletes do not go on to compete professionally nor have significant opportunities to earn income from name, image and likeness, Girod said. Those 98% do benefit from the education and resources they receive at their respective institutions as student-athletes, however.

“We must be cautious not to risk losing what is so valuable for the 98% while addressing the specific needs of those blessed to take their athletic talents to the professional level,” he said.

Girod concluded by stating that major athletic departments, such as KU’s, have important links to all aspects of the university, such as student recruitment, donor relations and the enrollment of a diverse student body.

Both Bowlsby and Emmert expressed trepidation that, if not handled correctly, student-athlete compensation for name, image and likeness might be construed as payment for athletic play.

Emmert said it is imperative to distinguish college and professional sports, noting that payment to students for their names, images and likenesses cannot become a “vehicle to deliver pay for athletic performance” or an inducement to “select or remain at a particular NCAA school.”

Bowlsby was hesitant about the possible repercussions of student-athlete compensation.

“I find myself supportive of the concept but daunted by the shadow that lies between the idea and the reality,” he said, noting that he believes boosters and donors could disrupt the recruitment process.

“College sports is not a vocation and the participants are not employees,” he said, noting that “the potential for harm is present.”

Girod comments on NCAA notice of allegations against KU

About two hours into the hearing Tuesday, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., told Emmert she felt the NCAA was failing to be transparent, consistent and fair, and said she believed this could cause some athletes to skip college and go straight to professional sports. She said she saw Girod nodding his head and asked if he would like to comment.

Girod acknowledged that KU is currently involved with an NCAA Notice of Allegations, and although “we don’t believe the evidence necessarily supports the allegations,” he said, "we support the system."

The most serious of those allegations involve KU basketball and center around three former Adidas representatives who have been convicted of federal fraud charges related to a scheme to pay the families of recruits to attend certain schools, including KU. The NCAA in September charged the KU basketball program with three serious violations and a lack of institutional control. It also directed a "responsibility charge" against coach Bill Self, whose communications with those Adidas representatives were a focus of the case.


Brian Wilson 2 years, 9 months ago

What a can of worms this opens up.

Just wait until the millionaire OAD takes the rest of the team including penniless walk-ons to the strip club and gives every one a $1000 to spend.

Basically this means players can earn whatever they want when they want and get it from whatever source they want. Or ....are we saying elite players are the only ones that receive elite money from elite sources!

Joe Joseph 2 years, 9 months ago

So, like any other adult in a free market system?

Brian Wilson 2 years, 9 months ago

Then if these athletes are now professional in a free market system, there should no longer be student athlete scholarships. Each student athlete should have to sign a contract to play for the school, for a particular duration or number of years, for a particular amount of money, and have to pay an agent. If it's a free market system, then it should be run like a free market. At which point, the days of O&D would be over, and student athletes could attend school part time, take 1 class per semester and fail every class without any repercussions. Student athletes could make their entire career as a KU Jayhawk. Imagine, 20 years off the KU bench, having taken only 120 credit hours with a 0.8 GPA, and no where close to graduating. Soon there will be players retiring as a Jayhawk complaining there is no pension, player union, health benefits, or emergency fund to fall back on. As I said......a can of worms, mass hysteria(sarc)!!!

Shannon Gustafson 2 years, 9 months ago

Using your train of thought, in 30 years purple elephants will be marrying former div 1 basketball playing orange unicorns.

Robert Moore 2 years, 9 months ago

The only way this really works is to implement as a socialist scheme.
The only players who really benefit are the elites/stars. The players will now gravitate to the better schools who can sell more jerseys. Can a smaller school like Duke or Wake Forest compete with the larger elite State schools like OSU, Penn State, Arizona or Kansas. DL's and OL's are out for the most part. Most defensive players will be out of the money. Bench players can only sit and watch the others rake it in.
Product prices are already out of sight. $39.95 for a basic T will become $49.95 or more. Fans will pay in the long run. REALLY BAD IDEA FOSTERED BY CA LIBERALS AND BERNIE SANDERS ECONOMIC MORONS.
Finally, who pays for their living expenses, tuition, etc.

Dane Pratt 2 years, 9 months ago

Are you sure you know the difference between capitalism and socialism? An athlete who receives compensation in return for an endorsement is free market capitalism. Sounds like you don’t want that and the opposite of this would be socialism which also sounds like you are against.

Micky Baker 2 years, 9 months ago

This isn't about socialism vs capaitalism. This is about amateur vs. professional athlete.

Armen Kurdian 2 years, 9 months ago

As a strong proponent of free markets, I could say, "Well this is just paying just and fair compensation...just the same as if a great brain surgeon gets paid more than an 'average' one, so to speak. But it cannot work in college athletics. It's not a marketplace, and it's unfair to the 'lesser' athletes. One guy on a team gets paid, another does not. One guy's shirts sell thousands, the other guy's (or girl's) don't.

Anyone put together a schedule of compensation for these guys? The cost of their education, food, housing, transportation, tutors, dietitians, etc.? What this will do to college athletics I cannot even begin to imagine...this is going to create conflict, resentment, greater inequality (increase disparity between the big schools and lower tiers), and I think increase the chances of graft and corruption instead of decrease it.

Dale Rogers 2 years, 9 months ago

Why not have the money paid to the schools who put it in a trust fund for the particular player with that trust fund to be made available to the student upon and only upon college graduation?

Armen Kurdian 2 years, 9 months ago

I thought about that, but it still comes to the same thing. Deferred compensation is still compensation.

Ben Berglund 2 years, 9 months ago

Paying players makes sense. College athletics is big business, and the athletes are the ones getting the seats filled. Guys on academic scholarships aren't prevented from going out and getting a job. I for one am ready for the sham of "amateurism" (with the biggest laugh that it is enforced by the NCAA) to be abandoned.

Freddie Garza 2 years, 9 months ago

No. We should continue to allow greedy old white guys (no offense to white guys of course) to profit billions of dollars on the back of this facade of amateurism that everyone knows is as phony as intellectuality in the State of California. We should continue to pretend that these kids have never received a red penny in their lives to preserve this facade and continue to allow the aforementioned old white men to generate maximum profits for themselves while the very people who are the driving force behind all of this revenue are supposed to get NADA.

Creg Bohrer 2 years, 9 months ago

I suggest the NBA draft the elite players out of highschool, get rid of the 19 and older rule, make it mandatory they play one year in the d league and let the kids that want a education or need more development play in the NCAA. To be honest with some of the one and dones going overseas to play for pay it's been a lot more interesting watching the game, a lot more parody.

Barry Weiss 2 years, 9 months ago

strange seeing Emmert and Girod together discussing this topic on a panel with what is going on between the two institutions.

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