The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, March 28, 1988, Image 1

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Debate to pass, punt athlete pay bill runs on
By Chuck Green
Senior Reporter
First-round approval of LB 1226
by the Nebraska Legislature was a
significant victory for the bill’s sup
porters, but some key players in the
struggle anticipate the bill will be
LB 1226, if enacted, would treat
scholarship football players at the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln as
employees of the university, allowing
them to be paid a salary for their
efforts on the field.
Legislators advanced the bill on a
26-12 vote last Monday. Two more
approvals are required before the bill
is sent to Gov. Kay Orr for her signa
ture or veto.
The idea was introduced eight
years ago by Sen. Ernie Chambers of
An amendment added to the bill
will prevent enactment unless at least
four of the other states in the Big Eight
Conference region agree to the same
legislation. Colorado, Iowa, Kansas,
Missouri and Oklahoma are the other
states in the conference.
Nebraska athletic director Bob
Dcvaney said Friday he doesn’t think
the bill will gain enough support to
become enacted.
“I really don’t think enough states
will pass this thing for it to become
reality,” Dcvaney said. “We’d have
to explain it to a lot of people, how it
would impact the schools involved
and everything.”
Chambers disagreed.
“I think it has a good chance of
passing because the senators now
understand the seriousness of the
problems concerning NCAA rules,”
Chambers said.
The NCAA, the governing body of
collegiate athletics, prohibits any
college athlete from receiving finan
cial compensation beyond the
amount paid by his or her scholarship
or from anyone except a relative.
If this stipulation is violated, the
athlete becomes ineligible for com
petition. The institution’s program
can also lose its eligibility.
Chambers has long maintained
that his sponsorship of the bill is due
to his belief that college football play
ers aren’t compensated sufficiently
for their lime and physical sacrifice in
relationship compared to the amount
of money generated by the football
“I think the same rules should be
applied across the board to all stu
dents, not excluding the athletes,” he
These players are generating mil
lions of dollars for their schools’
athletic departments, Chambers said,
and they can’t share in the wealth.
One major problem, Chambers
said, is that athletes on scholarship —
most of whom require at least five
years to graduate because of their
athletic practices and travel sched
ules — aren’t allowed to have jobs
under current NCAA rules.
‘‘That means that football players
have to wait five years before they can
have a job in the NFL or elsewhere,”
he said.
Scholarship athletes at service
academies — the Air Force, Army
and Navy—arc paid, Chambers said,
and their military service should be
considered a job.
Students at service academies,
however, are paid for their military
service, not for playing football.
Devaney said athletes from needy
families can apply for Pell Grant
funds. The allowance for Pell Grants
for athletes increased from S900 to
$1,400, and athletes’ priorities for
Pell Grant money were placed above
those of non-athlete students at the
NCAA Convention last January in
Nashville, Tenn.
Chambers said Pell Grants aren’t
adequate substitutes for jobs.
“No one places a limit on the out
side income of non-athlete students
that are on some form of financial aid.
They can have jobs,” he said. “The
money from the Pell Grants just aren’t
Another rule Chambers said he
disagrees with is what he calls the
“keeping the studs in the barn”clausc.
“When an athlete transfers to an
other school and wants to keep play
ing a sport, he or she has to sit out a
year to maintain eligibility,” he said.
“But when a journalism student trans
fers from Columbia, you don ’ t have to
sit out a year.”
In the athletes’ case, he said, it’s
another year they can’t have jobs.
Devaney said the main concern he
and the athletic department have is
with eligibility of the athletes and the
Bar patrons sit around enjoying a day of rest Sunday afternoon at O’Rourke's. O’Rourke’s
opened at noon Sunday for the first time after the Lincoln City Council passed an
ordinance recently allowing on-site selling of beer and wine beginning at noon Sundays.
Downtown businesses await move
By Amy Edwards
Senior Reporter _
Business owners who would
have to relocate to make room for
the Centerpointe project in down
town Lincoln said Sunday they are
waiting for a timetable from Mayor
Bill Harris before they make plans
to move.
Doug McLeesc, co-owner of
O’Rounte’s lounge, 121N. 14th St.,
said it’s up to the city when the bar
will have to move so a 450-stall
parking garage can be built between
0, P, 13tn and 14th streets.
McLeese said he spoke with
Harris and doc* not know where or
when the bar will move.
“We’d love to stay where we are,
but if the city doesn’t let us we’ll
relocate downtown,” McLeese said.
Harris said Sunday that although
there is no definite timetable, he
wants to move the project ahead as
rapidly as possible.
Harris said the owners of
O’Rourke’s as well as the owners of
Blondie’s, 115 N. 14th St, and The
Mill, 119 N. 14th St., need a time
tame so they know when they will
have to move.
Janie Lane, owner of Blondie’s,
said she has no definite plans to
move the shop until arrangements
have been made to begin the proj
The project is the first downtown
redevelopment project to be ap
proved by Harris and the Downtown
Selection Committee.
Harris said the project will bene
fit Lincoln by bringing in new busi
program as a whole. If UNL passed
the law and other universities didn’t,
he said, the Comhuskers would have
no one to play because the players
would be professional athletes and
would be prohibited from competing
on the collegiate level.
“If there were enough schools that
agreed, there might be enough pres
sure put on the NCAA to allow this
thing to be OK’d,” Devaney said.
“But the problem is that so many
colleges are pleading poverty these
days where their athletic departments
are concerned.”
Devaney said the payroll required
for such a law would be enormous and
that most schools would have to de
crease the number of their athletic
programs to offset the cost.
Devaney said he didn’t know how
much money would be allotted to
each player if the bill were to pass, but
$50 to $100 a month were the most
consistent figures discussed.
Six Big Eight universities recently
asked that the $175,000 limit on the
guaranteed visitor’s share of game
profits be raised when their football
teams played at Nebraska and Okla
“So you can see they’re already
having trouble with existing funds,”
Devaney said.
“That’s what makes me doubt that
other schools would go along with
this idea.” he said.
UNL Chancellor Marlin Massen
gale said Saturday he had not yet read
the bill, but that his support or resis
tance would depend on its intent.
“If we’re talking about some
spending money for the athlete to go
to a movie or buy a Coke or something
like that, that I would support,” Mas
sengale said. “But on the other hand,
if the bill would have athletes playing
a sport just for a salary, then to me it
would be out of the question.”
Massengale said enactment of
LB 1226 would present the problem of
UNL athletes in other sports also
expecting “their fair share.”
“You’ll always run across the ar
gument of ‘If it’s fair to pay one
athlete, it’s fair to pay another,”’
Massengale said.
Of the 19 varsity sports at UNL,
Massengale said, only two — footbal I
and men’s basketball — generate
revenue. The other 17 don’t make
enough money to pay for themselves,
he said, arid have to rely on the surplus
funds from the other two programs to
If the bill is passed, Massengale
said, the amount of money required
for the payroll could endanger other
sports at UNL.
“If what we’re talking about would
be more than weekend spending
money, then we’re looking at elimi
nating other programs, which is not in
the best interest of the university,” he
said. “And I think thateventually, this
would begin to cut into academics as
“However,” Massengale added,
“if it were a small amountof spending
money for the athletes, that would
likely be affordable even to the other
non-revenue sports.”
Chambers said the football team’s
earnings for the Nebraska athletic
department are high enough that they
could cover any expenses required.
“Their team generates more than
enough money to cover any compen
sation or stipends that can be offered
to them through this bill,” he said.
“The argument of the tax-payers
having to go into their pockets to pay
for this thing is non-existent.”
After the need to compensate foot
ball players is brought to the public’s
attention and people become aware of
the need to correct it, then compensa
tion for other sports’ athletes and the
broader problems can be discussed,
Chambers said.
He said one of the most noticeable
problems in college athletics today is
UNL professor seeking
federal research money
By Anne Mohri
Senior Reporter
A University of Nebraska-Lincoln
professor will go to Washington D.C.
next month to lobby for $2 m illion for
leachate research.
Roy Spalding, professor of hydro
chemistry in the Conservation and
Survey Division, is scheduled to
appear before the U.S. House of
Representatives Appropriations
Committee April 11.
The $2 million requested would go
toward research equipment and the
two research progiams in North Platte
and Clay Center.
Leachate research concerns
chemical pollution of groundwater,
said Irv Omtvedt, vice chancellor for
the Institute of Agriculture and Natu
ral Resources.
Omtvedt said the proposal has
been well received by officials. He
said he is optimistic atxwt getting the
$2 million because water quality is a
national concern.
Nebraska has a national reputation
for its expertise in the area of ground
water contamination from chemicals
and fertilizers, and Spalding’s work
with groundwater contamination has
been nationally recognized, Omtvedt
Omtvedt said the main concern is
to safeguard the use of chemicals in
production practices to maintain
environmental quality.
He said the way the chemicals are
administered and the amount used
determines the amount of pollution
that leaches, or filters, through the
soil to groundwater.
He said the research would prevent
overuse of chemicals and fertilizers.
Results of the research would enable
farmers to determine the smallest
amount of chemicals that would pro
vide optimum production.
Omtvedt said a system being used
now is to put the fertilizers or chemi
cals in the irrigation system with the
water. He said the study is to ensure
it’s being used safely and effectively.
Spalding said Nebraska research
ers know more about the location of
the groundwater pollution and what
causes it than most other states’ re
Nebraska probably has some ot the
worst agricultural nitrate pollution,
he said. Several Nebraska cities are
having problems, and some of the
problems are caused by fertilizer
pollution, he said.
Extensive research must be done
because of the amount of variables to
be considered, he said; for example,
the amount of water and rain, the type
of soil, the amount of fertilizers and
herbicides applied and the lime they
were applied.