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Purdue AD: Providing student-athletes with stipend is 'fundamentally the right thing to do'

Morgan Burke Purdue

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Purdue Boilermakers athletic director Morgan J. Burke talks with Kevin Sumlin before the semifinals of the south regional in the 2010 NCAA mens basketball tournament at Reliant Stadium. (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)

As the debate concerning whether or not student-athletes should be paid continues, one Big Ten athletic director made it clear where he stands on the issue.

At this week’s Big Ten spring meetings, Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke said that providing players with “cost of attendance” stipends is “fundamentally the right thing to do.”

“It’s got to be done for men and women, it’s got to be done for Olympic sports and non-revenue sports. It’s the right thing to do,” Burke said, per “The reality is, this is fundamentally fair. And so we’d better find the money. We find the money for lots of other things, we’d better find money for this.”

Burke said that a stipend is especially necessary for athletes who are not eligible for a Pell Grant, which is money provided by the government to help students with financial needs.

“I particularly worry about the young man and woman who is not Pell eligible,” Burke said. “If they’re Pell eligible today, they’re getting a check worth $5,730 – and that’s cash. They’ve got some money in their pocket. But how about if mom and dad are both working, they don’t qualify for Pell and they haven’t got two nickels to rub together (while in college). And, yet, we’re sitting here with phenomenal growth in our media revenues and rights agreements – (paying them that money) isn’t doing anything more than you should be doing. It’s fair.”

The NCAA Division I Board of Directors gave its endorsement to a restructuring of a new governance system that would allow the five power conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC) to have the autonomy to enforce rules “specific matters affecting the interests of student-athletes.” Part of that would include providing additional aid to student-athletes, including the full cost of attendance, so Burke might see this come to fruition relatively soon.

The NCAA announced that the new system could be approved “as early as August,” when the Board of Directors will vote on its final recommendations after generating feedback from schools across the country.

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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