Player pay talk surfaces at Big 12 meetings

College football's "Year of the Scandal" has ignited talk of paying players, and the conversation has spread to Big 12 meetings in Kansas City this week.

There's no easy solution and no easy plan for making it happen, even if increasing what players are given only covers the cost of attendance.

"Cost of attendance comes with all sorts of complications," Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe told the Associated Press on Wednesday. "The cost of attendance will vary at certain institutions. If it's $5,000 here and $2,000 there, how does that get into recruiting?"

And that's only one of any number of questions. Another biggie is what do athletes for sports that don't produce near as much money for the university (i.e., every sport other than basketball and football) get?

"If you start thinking in terms of, `Well, these are the kids that bring in all the money and we need to give them more money,' it's hard for me to think that makes sense," Oklahoma faculty representative Connie Dillon told the Associated Press. "How are you saying that's not pay for play?"

And that's without even considering where the money comes from. Texas AD DeLoss Dodds supports paying players, but even though he runs the richest athletic program in the country, admits that finding the money would be difficult, for Texas and everyone else.

"The reality of being able to do it, it's hard. Maybe 10 percent of athletic budgets are in the black. So if you go cost of living, that's another, let's say million dollars, that's got to come from somewhere," Dodds said. "Probably got to come from the academic side. It's not a good time to take money from the academic side for athletes. The reality of making it happen, I think, is pretty hard to figure."

A few other notes from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Vahe Gregorian:

  • It sounds like the Big 12 has an unequivocal commitment to not expanding, according to Dodds. "No. It is absolutely no. No. Not a thought. Not a consideration," he told the paper. "I think a better way to say it is I don't think the Big 12 is going to start something. ... It's pretty good the way it is."

  • Dodds also said the recent cash windfall courtesy of Fox Sports exceeded their expectations. "We didn't plan it, exactly, but what we've ended up with is probably better than we would have planned," he said.

  • To no one's surprise, Beebe would support the elimination of the double BCS game and the addition of a fifth bowl, presumably the Cotton Bowl in Cowboys Stadium, in the heart of the Big 12 footprint.

  • As for the BCS itself, Dodds says don't expect it to change. He says 80 percent of athletic directors (Dodds is among them) and 50 percent of coaches would prefer a playoff, but the number of university presidents is "way, way below that."