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Shane Battier Comes Out In Support Of Paying NCAA Players

03/24/2015 12:38 pm ET | Updated Mar 24, 2015

Former Duke basketball star Shane Battier told HuffPost Live on Tuesday that he supports the idea of paying NCAA student-athletes in some form.

“I would try to find a way to compensate players for their time,” Battier, a former winner of the college basketball National Player of the Year award, told HuffPost Live’s Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani when asked what changes he would make to the NCAA. “It’s a full-time job. If you play college athletics, if you play college football, college basketball, it’s a full-time job.”

“You don’t have time to get a part-time job [when you play college basketball or football], so when I was in college, things like buying a pizza for my girlfriend -- who is now my wife -- or going to a movie, I necessarily couldn’t afford,” he added.

The NCAA has made a number of small changes to its athletic scholarship program in the last year in light of criticism over how it was structured. A 2011 study by the National College Players Association and the Drexel University Department of Sports Management found that most “full” scholarships on their own left student-athletes struggling below the federal poverty line at that time.

“There’s a lot of money being made,” Battier said Tuesday. “I think it would behoove everybody if we find a way [to pay the players], whether that’s through a trust that’s established that players and athletes receive after they graduate, make it contingent on graduating from college."

“Let’s find a way to up graduate rates and at the same time bring in a level of equity and fairness to the college scene,” he said.

Battier’s comments come one day after The Huffington Post reported that former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon now supports paying the players as employees, as well. O'Bannon is the face of a long-standing lawsuit over the NCAA’s use of players' likenesses and images without compensation.

Most Americans, however, disagree with the idea of paying college athletes, according to a recent HuffPost/YouGov poll.

Battier retired from the NBA last year after more than a decade in the league. Here are his comments in their entirety:

I would try to find a way to compensate players for their time. It’s a full-time job. If you play college athletics, if you play college football, college basketball, it’s a full time job. You don’t have time to get a part-time job, so when i was in college, things like buying a pizza for my girlfriend, who is now my wife, or going to a movie, I necessarily couldn’t afford. I had to work in the summer, but I had my coaches telling me, look, you should be practicing your game, not working on a part-time job. And so, there’s a lot of money being made. I think it would behoove everybody if we find a way [to pay the players], whether that’s through a trust that’s established that players and athletes receive after they graduate, make it contingent on graduating from college. Let’s find a way to up graduate rates and at the same time bring in a level of equity and fairness to the college scene.

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