Tenn. bill to give student-athletes grants introduced - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Tenn. bill to give student-athletes grants introduced

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Thanks for the exciting memories is what some fans will say to  graduating seniors of the Memphis Tigers basketball team after losing to Virginia Sunday evening in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.

Tennessee State Rep. Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis) thinks all graduating student-athletes should get more than a slap on the back when they hang up their uniforms.

READ: Tennessee HB 2147

This issue becomes a constant debate topic whenever tournaments start. Should Div. I athletes who generate millions of dollars for their universities get compensated other than a full scholarship, in most cases.

Rep. Parkinson has introduced a bill to give graduating college student athletes in the Volunteer State up to a $75,000 grant, no strings attached, although Rep. Parkinson hopes the cash would be used to start a business or pay for grad school.

Here's how it would work: Div. I schools in Tennessee would invest some of their revenue from athletics into a trust fund administered by the state treasurer. A percentage of the interest would pay for the grants and what's left over would go back to the schools.

"What this bill does is create a mechanism to reward our student athletes who in the State of Tennessee generate millions of dollars for our colleges and universities and our state as a whole," Rep. Parkinson said.

Memphis Tigers head basketball coach Josh Pastner said any bill to compensate college athletes is bound to have problems.

"I's not so easy because you have Title IX, you have other sports," Pastner said. "There are rules, regulations and laws and so it is a fine line, and how about the universities who don't make money off of their other sports."

Tennessee HB 2147 has passed the House Education Subcommittee and now moves onto the full committee on education.

University of Tennessee came out against the proposal. It claims UT would lose money in their athletics department if this bill passed, but could not say how much money is in reserves.

The big unknown is how the NCAA will respond to the bill if it passes the committee and moves to the House floor for a full vote.

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