Georgia State coach Ron Hunter proposes unique idea for NCAA potentially paying players

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Georgia State head coach Ron Hunter shared a unique way that the NCAA could compensate student-athletes as the debate about paying college athletes continues to rage on.

In a candid interview with Atlanta’s NBC 11Alive Sports, Hunter talked about the possibility of the NCAA putting money away in some sort of trust fund that could be accessed after a college career is finished. Since Hunter is a Division I college basketball head coach with a son, R.J., who went on to play in the NBA, he has some interesting qualifications for proposing ideas like this.

“I have always said, from when my son (R.J. Hunter) played (at Georgia State), when a university can sell a young man’s jersey or likeness, I believe that young man should be paid. Maybe not at that time, but put it in a trust fund. If that money is going to the university, it should be paid in a sense—not a stipend. Special talent should be paid. I think the NCAA is moving towards that,” Hunter said.

The idea of the NCAA withholding money from student-athletes and paying them in the future seems a little bit troubling — would schools be transparent with revenue knowing they’d potentially share money with student-athletes? Who would hold them accountable?

But Hunter’s idea could also add some some other interesting wrinkles. Say that the NCAA goes along with this idea and schools started to put money into some sort of fund while players were still in school. Similar to a corporation that gives a 401K and matches contributions from its employees, schools could work to benefit student-athletes who stuck around longer.

Some college basketball programs have resorted to paying coaches with stock options, most notably Arizona’s Sean Miller, who has a “longevity bonus” that was given to him in 2014 by an Arizona booster. Miller’s bonus payment is due in May 2020 as the vested share in the stock was worth $4.1 million as of early April.

The hypothetical student-athletes involved in this scenario wouldn’t receive nearly as much as the example provided for Sean Miller. Maybe the funds come from the school itself or a booster like in Miller’s case. If the trust is controlled until a player turns pro then maybe the NCAA would somehow allow that within its sanctity of “amateurism.”

It’s an evolving idea to throw around to potentially give student-athletes something more than just a scholarship and a stipend. Either way, maybe Hunter is on to something here.