Pete Carroll on California student-athlete bill: ‘I never thought it was necessary’ to pay players

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll doesn’t think it’s necessary to pay student-athletes, and feels they get a “pretty darn good deal.” (Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Pete Carroll spent nearly a decade as a collegiate head coach, and knows the landscape well.

The longtime USC coach led the Trojans to two national championships, after all — though one was stripped after a massive scandal surrounding running back Reggie Bush.

Yet none (well, almost none) of his players in Southern California were paid — and Carroll would prefer to see it stay that way.

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A new bill working its way through the California Legislature this month would allow student-athletes at universities in the state to profit off the use of their name and likeness, and is expected to become law in 2023. Two other states have taken steps to pass similar laws in recent days, too, including South Carolina and New York.

While he admitted that he doesn’t know a lot about the specifics surrounding the proposed bills, Carroll doesn’t think they’re needed.

“I’ve never been the guy that feels players needed to be paid to play,” Carroll said Wednesday, via NBC Sports. “I’ve felt like their scholarship and all the advantages that the guys got was always a pretty darn good deal. To me that sounds like it’s an adult situation trying to make sense of a kid’s experience, and so they’ve justified it. I don’t know that it’s wrong, good for the kids and all, and if it’s the right thing then maybe the rest of the country adopts it.

“I never thought that it was necessary. Even though there’s times that are tough for kids who don’t have a lot of money to take as incidental spending and stuff like that, when a kid’s on scholarship, he’s taken care of pretty well. They can make it. To start that, I’m surprised it happened. We’ll see what happens.”

The Seattle Seahawks coach isn’t the only prominent figure in opposition of the movement to compensate college athletes.

Washington State coach Mike Leach slammed the bill on Monday, and then went on a brief rant against the state of California in general — saying they should be focused on “keeping their streets clean” instead. Tim Tebow came out against the movement last week on ESPN’s “First Take,” claiming that he didn’t want to make any money on his jersey sales while he was playing at Florida and that the idea is “piling on” to a “selfish culture.”

The NCAA is extremely against it, too, and even reportedly threatened to ban California universities from competing in future NCAA championships if the bill passes. The NCAA officially formed a working group to study the issue in May.

The movement has picked up several high-profile endorsements, however, including from LeBron James and Draymond Green, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and presidential candidate Andrew Yang.

A lot still needs to be worked out before the bill in California, should it pass, becomes law — something that would undoubtedly alter collegiate sports.

Either way, since Carroll jumped back up to the NFL in 2010, it’s not his issue.

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