The NCAA spends a lot of time and resources trying to prevent student athletes from capitalizing on their college stardom. Despite the organization’s best efforts, it’s fair to assume most big time college athletes are finding discrete ways to bring in a little cash. There are simply way too many wealthy fans out there willing to shower players with expensive gifts and pay them for services (see: autographs.)
Don’t take my word for it, though. Former University of South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia said in an interview with WFNZ today that he saw players getting paid “all day, every day” while in school.
“I saw it all day, every day to be honest with you,” Garcia said. “I wish they came to me, but they thought of me as some rich white kid so I didn’t really get benefits from that. I’m just being honest with you. I saw it firsthand with a lot of players and talking with other guys. You know I’m friends with a lot of players from around the SEC, and talking with them, it makes the Todd Gurley thing seem insignificant by a long shot.”
The WFNZ hosts then asked Garcia to give a ballpark figure for how much money he’s seen players make in a season off of autographs and other goods. Garcia’s answer probably has NCAA officials everywhere shaking their heads.
“$160,000 for one season,” Garcia said.
You’re fighting a losing battle, NCAA.