|Wednesday, February 12
Updated: February 13, 8:08 AM ET
Governor backs bill to pay Nebraska football players
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Gov. Mike Johanns is backing a legislative proposal to pay Nebraska football players.
"Paying the players would be above board and straightforward," Johanns said Wednesday. "College football has become a multimillion-dollar industry that should do much better for its athletes."
A bill introduced by state Sen. Ernie Chambers would require football players to be paid a stipend. It would take effect only if three other states that have teams in the Big 12 Conference pass similar laws.
Chambers contends football players are exploited, unable to capitalize on work that generates millions of dollars. He said NCAA rules governing money players can earn are too complex and easy to violate for small infractions.
The Business and Labor Committee held a hearing on the proposal Monday, but has not taken any action.
Johanns said if the bill were to pass the Legislature he would sign it into law. The Legislature passed a similar bill in 1988 but it was vetoed by then-Gov. Kay Orr.
Johanns' wife, Stephanie, was a state senator at that time who supported the bill vetoed by Orr.