Ehlinger called NCAA amateurism "a full-time unpaid internship."

By Alaa Abdeldaiem
March 08, 2019

Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger expressed his support for a congressional bill that would modify the NCAA's current restrictions on amateur athletes.

Ehlinger took to Twitter on Thursday to voice his frustrations about the lack of compensation student athletes receive for a workload that Ehlinger equated to a "full-time unpaid internship."

"Consider a full-time unpaid internship that requires 1-4 years of participation, with a minimum 40-hour work week. This internship generates millions of dollars for your company, and billions of dollars for the broadcating companies that cover your industry," Ehlinger wrote. "Within this internship, you risk your short-term and long-term health on a daily basis. You endure this internship with less than a 2% chance to advance in your industry and obtain a full-time job. Would you accept this position? Now consider the full-time unpaid internship as College Athletics and the full-time paid job as Professional Sports."

Ehlinger then backed Rep. Mark Walker's proposed Student-Athlete Equity Act, a bill that would require the NCAA to remove its restrictions that currently prohibit student athletes from making profits off of their name, image or likeness. 

Under current NCAA rules, student athletes can receive scholarships for playing sports at an university but are not paid by the institution, which can use their name and image to make money. Athletes cannot be paid by third parties or sign endorsement deals, and doing so threatens their NCAA eligibility. 

The proposed bill does not intend to ask universities to pay student athletes but to allow amateur athletes the ability to be paid by third parties. 

"Signing on with a university, if you’re a student-athlete, should not be [a] moratorium on your rights as an individual. This is the time and the moment to be able to push back and defend the rights of these young adults," Walker told The News & Observer on Thursday.

Walker has met with NCAA representatives and said he is "open to considering possible NCAA restrictions or guidelines" on the proposed legistlation. He will introduce the bill before March Madness begins on Tuesday, March 19.

Ehlinger, a junior, became Texas's full-time starting quarterback in 2018 after making nine appearances as a true freshman in 2017. He passed for 3,292 yards and 25 touchdowns on the year while adding 482 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground.

Texas finished the year 10–4 and defeated Georgia 28–21 in the All-State Sugar Bowl.

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