U.S. Senators debate the idea of paying college athletes


WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The Senate Tuesday debated the idea of paying college athletes. Democrats say it’s only fair athletes get a share of the 15 billion dollar industry.

 “We can say the workers, the athletes should be happy with the cost of tuition but that’s not how the free market works. And to me, it’s just pretty rich to listen to a coach who is making five million dollars a year tell his athletes that they should be OK with simply the cost of tuition,” Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said.

Murphy is sponsoring a bill to allow athletes a cut of college sports profits—and to get their own shoe deals if they want.

Republican Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee countered that college athletes have a choice—stay in school or play ball professionally.

 “I do not see a good ending to allowing a few good student athletes to be paid by commercial interests while most of their teammates are not,” Alexander said. “If that student athlete wants to keep the money, for himself or herself, that student athlete should become a professional.”

University officials testified Tuesday that only a small number of college athletes make it to the pro level. But, they said, all student athletes benefit from the programs paid for by college sports.

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