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Campus Union

Duke coach David Cutcliffe: Nobody's getting rich off college athletics

David Cutcliffe Duke's David Cutcliffe gave his take on the pay-for-play debate in his press conference. (Lance King/Getty Images)

Many people have recently taken issue with the NCAA's policies regarding student-athlete amateurism, but Duke coach David Cutcliffe doesn't appear to be among them.

On Tuesday, Cutcliffe was asked about the recent "All Players United" movement, as a number of college football players across the country wore "APU" on their playing gear last weekend to protest the NCAA's treatment of student-athletes on issues ranging from concussions to compensation. Cutcliffe hadn't heard of the movement, but he offered his take on the specific issue of increasing scholarship amounts to cover the "full cost of attendance." From his press conference:

“Let me tell you what it’s going to do,” Cutcliffe said. “All of that is going to make it so expensive to come to a college athletics event that nobody is going to want to come. Again, we’re not abusing kids. There’s a lot of uniformed people that haven’t seen the day-to-day.

“I’m pretty qualified to be informed. We’re not going to let a youngster starve. Before they starve, I’m going to break an NCAA rule to make sure they eat. I’m going to take them home if they can’t pay their rent. If we get to that point, I’m going to house them. It’s not the case. It’s not the case.

“I’m sorry to disagree with so many intelligent people that seem to think they understand the circumstance. And nobody is really getting rich off of this; we’re operating an athletics department off of all this. Do you understand how much it costs to operate an athletic department? We have 26 varsity sports and recreation. A lot of facilities and a lot of people are in place here to make it better for the student-athlete. That’s a lot of money to operate all of that. Nobody is stealing from them, you understand what I’m saying?"

Last week, SI.com broke the news that one of Cutcliffe's former players, Arian Foster, admitted in an upcoming documentary that he received extra money while in school at Tennessee. Cutcliffe coached Foster in 2006 and 2007 while serving as offensive coordinator for the Vols. In the documentary, "Schooled: The Price of College Sports,” Foster said he would sometimes run out of money for food and often had to choose between spending on groceries or on rent.

Foster said he would be forced to call Tennessee coaches and request food, and they once delivered "like 50 tacos" to he and his roommates. Cutcliffe provided a different take:

“That may have been as weak an interview as I’ve heard,” Cutcliffe said of the Foster interview. “Arian never looked hungry.”

[...]

“Yes, [a scholarship] pays for food and rent,” he said. “On gameday, when you go back to your dorm, you usually got $15 in meal money, and you could buy, I don’t know, 10 tacos maybe."

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