Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon says paying student-athletes is 'absurd'
NOVI — Dave Brandon isn’t just against paying student-athletes, he finds the whole idea "absurd."
While serving as a co-guest speaker Monday at the Marketing and Sales Executives of Detroit’s summer luncheon in Novi, Michigan’s second-year athletic director got right to the point when asked his thoughts on the pay for play debate.
“I’m flatly opposed to this notion of paying student-athletes,” Brandon said. “I don’t think you could possibly coach a team where part of them are being compensated and part of them are not.
“Once you start paying them as if they were employees, then you’re going to be 1099ing these folks, bringing in accountants and lawyers to work through tax issues which leads to contract negotiations and probably even a union. It’s just absurd.”
Not only for the university, but for athletes in general.
“I just think it’s nonsense,” he added. “There’s a certain constituency out there, (who are not) necessarily involved in athletic administration or coaching, who kind of want to propagate this notion that there are certain young people out there that have commercial appeal and they should be able to cash in on that commerciality during their college careers.
“And I think it’s just nonsense. “
Last month, Brandon explained at a golf outing in Bath that he has no issue with allowing a “cost of education” stipend for student-athletes to help assist with various aspects of college life that aren’t covered by a scholarship.
Brandon said he felt there are “adjustments” that can be made to keep players away from the dangers that can often be linked with rogue boosters or agents.
But that, he said, is a different topic altogether.
“We have 825 student-athletes, and with the exception of maybe a handful -- they don’t have any commerciality to them whatsoever,” he said. “Most of them come to campus, want to compete, get a degree and proudly display the fact that they are a student-athlete at their university and that’s why they’re there.
“You have a few young people who have reached the status where they have some commercial appeal -- and you know what, they can wait a year or two and cash in on that when they leave.”