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Big 12 Coaches split on paying players

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Giving college athletes a small percentage of the millions of dollars they generate is a ``pipe dream,'' Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson says.

Baylor coach Dave Bliss calls the whole idea ``a Pandora's Box.''

But judging from an informal survey, most Big 12 basketball coaches would like to see players in revenue-producing sports get a stipend, if not a monthly salary.

``I think it's unrealistic to think these kids only need their education paid for and nothing else,'' Colorado coach Ricardo Patton said Monday during the Big 12 coaches' weekly conference call.

``Most of these kids are far away from home. A great deal of them don't have parents who can send them money on a regular basis, if at all,'' Patton said. ``I've coached kids whose parents are unable to send them anything other than a box of food. The people who are making these decisions are all capable of sending their kids money when they go off to school.''

The biggest argument against paying players has always been the value of the education and other benefits they derive as scholarship athletes.

In the Big 12, the value of a full athletic scholarship ranges from about $23,000 a year for out-of-state students at Baylor, Colorado and Missouri to roughly $8,300 at Oklahoma, Kansas State and Oklahoma State, according to the conference.

Full scholarships include tuition, room and board, books and fees. Athletes also get other considerations, such as free tutoring.

``I still am one of the 'old school' guys who feel the education and the opportunity to learn life skills ... is what really enhances their college experience,'' Bliss said.

``But that doesn't mean it won't happen tomorrow, the way college athletics has gone,'' he added. ``College athletics has a guilt complex because of all the money involved with football and basketball.''
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