Rand Paul: College athletes should be able to sign endorsement deals

10/06/2017 03:39 PM

LEXINGTON — Sen. Rand Paul joined a growing chorus of elected officials calling for college-athletes to be paid following a Federal Bureau of Investigations probe.

Friday morning after Paul finished a meeting in Lexington he took a few minutes to answer questions on taxes, gun control and the FBI investigation of alleged bribery at several big time college basketball programs. The federal law enforcement investigation didn’t specifically name any Kentucky programs; however the Athletic Director and Head basketball coach at the University of Louisville have been placed on administrative leave.

Paul said a changing the rules governing endorsements for student-athletes is a start.

“We can keep more of these athletes in college is I would actually let them sign contracts to endorse products in college,” Paul said. “I would let them defer, they couldn’t get their earnings until they left college so they could have deferred earnings and I think you would keep people in for a longer period of time in college.”

The NCAA prohibits student-athletes from endorsing any product – paid or otherwise.

The FBI alleges a sports apparel company funneled cash to perspective basketball recruits effectively steering them to schools using their products. NCAA rules allow member schools to accept endorsement money, but not the athletes.

“…and you might get away from people breaking the rules if the rules were a little bit more open,” Paul said. “It is hard to fault these kids, some of these kids came from very poor backgrounds and if it were my kid and they were offered $15 million to go pro you can see why they go pro and that puts the pressure on colleges to maybe bend or break the rules.”

Congress has no direct authority over the rules governing college athletics.

However the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee are requesting a briefing from the NCAA and sports companies involved in the investigation.

Reporting by: Richard Essex

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