Fr. John L. Jenkins, president of Notre Dame, stands firm in his belief that college athletes should not be paid, he tells The New York Times’ Dan Barry.
“Our relationship to these young people is to educate them, to help them grow,” Jenkins says of his alma mater. “Not to be their agent for financial gain.”
If college football ever reached the state of paying its athletes, Jenkins says that Notre Dame would leave the league, regardless of what boosters would think, and join a conference with other universities that share the same stance on pay for play.
“Perhaps institutions will make decisions about where they want to go—a semipro model or a different, more educational model—and I welcome that,” Jenkins said. “I wouldn’t consider that a bad outcome, and I think there would be schools that would do that.”
Notre Dame would also consider leaving if sports lawyer Jeffrey Kessler wins the pending lawsuit filed against the NCAA and Power Five conferences that argues that the value of student-athletes is limited by athletic scholarships. Jenkins views that fallout as the end of college football as we know it and a foray into semi-professional athletics.
However, Jenkins tells The Times that he would be willing to support a quarterback’s selling his autograph or hiring an agent to help him monetize his fame. Notre Dame would not have any part in the athlete's financial ventures.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are ranked ninth is the first Associated Press college football poll of the year following their 38–3 victory over the Texas Longhorns on Saturday.
- Christopher Chavez