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Big Ten Players Wonder Where They Fit Right into a $1 Billion TV Deal


Xavier Johnson, a degree guard on the basketball team at Indiana University, echoed Stroud. Johnson said that players’ getting a “small percentage” of the billion-dollar deal can be fair. “People only are available in to look at the players play,” he said.

Brooks supports athletes earning a portion of the multibillion dollar deal. Still, she said, she’s unsure where gymnastics would slot in with sports like football and basketball. “Yes, we are able to have a bit of that pie, but I feel my thing is football and basketball should get it before we do,” Brooks said, “simply because while you take a look at the numbers, those are the athletes which are bringing in all that viewership.”

Player pay is removed from a done deal, after all. Gene Smith, Ohio State’s athletic director, told reporters on Thursday that student-athletes are already paid within the “aggregate” in the shape of help they receive from trainers, strength coaches, sports psychologists, nutritionists and academic counselors.

“Frankly, they’re already getting a bit of the tv revenue,” Smith said. “In order that they actually already get a bit. It may not be directly of their pocket, however it’s an investment in them.”

Though schools may decide to do more in the long run for student-athletes, “not in the shape of pay-for-play,” he said. “Otherwise, I’m out.”

Even when the Big Ten’s recent deal doesn’t end in direct payments to students, some athletes were hopeful that it could increase the opportunities now available to them to capitalize on their name, image and likeness. Brooks thought more TV viewership could help athletes with their visibility, which could increase their opportunities for N.I.L. deals.

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