Chicago Side's Daniel Libit, who wrote about future former UCLA coach Steve Alford for Deadspin yesterday, spoke to the McDonald's All-American boys' players in the Windy City this week and asked them about compensation for NCAA athletes.
A few balked at the idea ("we’re amateur athletes, so we can’t get paid") while others simply couldn't see it changing ("that’s just how it is and that’s probably how it’s going to be")–but it's still clear enough that the next generation of first-rounders has been considering the question for a while now. Here's Noah Vonleh (pictured above), a 6-9 Indiana commit from Haverhill, Mass.:
Vonleh: I think it is crazy. I think they should pay the players because they are going out there, working hard for the school, risking their body. And if they get hurt, it is over for them.
Libit: Tom Crean makes three-and-a-half million dollars a year [actually, it’s $3.16 million]. The athletics department brings in millions. Everybody is getting paid except the talent.
Vonleh: When people bring it up, I think about it a lot more. Players are getting hurt all the time, like at Louisville with Kevin Ware. Yeah, they should definitely pay the players. They are risking their body to go out there and play and play in the coach’s system and help them win. They are making the coach look good.
Libit: Everybody here has the expectation that this is how it’s always going to be. Do you have the same mindset?
Vonleh: If a few more players get hurt, like Nerlens [Noel at Kentucky] or Kevin Ware, if a few more players get hurt, I think they are going to bring up something and the players will end up getting paid.