CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A former West Virginia Mountaineer has become the center of the long held debate over the idea of compensating college football players above the cost of books, room and board and tuition.

Virginia native Shawne Alston filed the class-action suit on behalf of all college football players.¬†Alston claims schools are benefiting handsomely from their athletic programs, especially football. The suit believes the key element in that product, the players, is being short changed. Alston’s suit argues a scholarship doesn’t begin to¬†cover the cost difference between grant and aid compensation and the real cost of going to a particular school.

“That means miscellaneous expenses, such as transportation,” said reporter Jon Solomon who’s covered the story for “It’s just other types of expenses that are associated with going to school.”

Alston’s suit isn’t the first, but it is the most recent. It’s also one that may have a stronger argument than any which have come before since coaches are paid millions and schools and television networks are becoming enriched by the popularity of college football.

“This debate has been going on for decades about whether to pay players or whether they deserve more,” said Solomon. “What’s really resonated and changed in recent years is the amount of money with more and more for coaches, commissioners, and more and more coming from these TV contracts. I think conference realignment has also really opened some eyes.”

The schools and the NCAA are yet to formally responded to Alston’s suit. Solomon said there is precedent which gives merit to the suit’s claim.

“We’ve seen tons of statements from the SEC, ACC, Big XII, Big 10, Pac12 and the conference with money have all come out in favor of some kind of a stipend,” said Solomon.

Solomon added those he’s spoken to those with experience in the field who indicated it could take years to change the system and the legal fight will be expensive. The question, according to Solomon, appeared to be whether lawyers involved are willing to go the distance on the matter.

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  • Independent View

    Those of you that believe you know everything is annoying to us that do!
    I could not, if I tried for weeks, months, years, care what you think! It happened, maybe they don't pay or provide free bennies to bench-riders where you went to school?

    • Wow

      Whatever I still don't believe your fiction. Maybe you should write a book. For someone that does not car what I think you sure are getting all jacked up about it.

  • TB

    They are getting paid - it's called a feducation! Don't have to take it if the "pay" is too low!

  • wow

    It sure is funny to hear the " insiders" talk about pay for play and these pampered players. I wonder how many ever played college sports?

  • MOCO man

    If you go to school on scholarship you are getting a free education. I think it's ridiculous to turn around and bite the hand that feeds you......

  • Independent View

    I attended a well-known D-III college in WV. A close friend of mine that was on the football team asked me over lunch one day if I'd walk up to the Admn. Bldg. with him? I said sure it's on the way to my 1:30 class.
    When we walked into the burser's office , a secretary immediately recognized him and said _______, here's your check. When we walked outside I asked what did you get a check for? He showed me the check and it was for 80 hours work. To which I asked, what work do you perform? His response was, I have a job, but I don't have to show up or perform any work and I get a paycheck every 2 weeks. Again, I asked why, if you don't really work would you get a paycheck? His answer was duh, I get paid to play football silly.
    Additionally, he said that atheletes at that college were also provided cars and off-campus housing too. I doubted that statement, but he confirmed it by saying just go down by the maintenance facility and inside the fence you will see 20-30 new leased cars. Those are ready for the basketball players.
    Obviously, if this is SOP at D-III colleges, just imagine what goes on and the type of bennies provided at D-I colleges& universities and especially to star players.
    I am confident that Alston was on that gravy train too.

    • Andy

      Parking lot full of new cars. Mkay.

    • wow

      Yea, and I got a sports car and a gas card for playing AAA high school Basketball (NOT). Then when I went on to play D-1 Basketball I Got money, girls better cars along with grades(NOT). What I am saying is I don't believe on a D-III level that happened.

      • it happens

        You are rather naive. At Glenville State College, there are athletes playing one sport but receiving a scholarship from another sport that they will never play. Those same athletes get "paid" for a job they never work any hours. Yes, this goes on even at this level. And many know but say nothing specifically.

        • wow

          You make it sound like it happens more than not. I was on a D-1 basketball team, I probably should have went to a small college program. I got offers from small college teams but none offered money or jobs I didn't have to work at. That does happen but not very often, not like you make it sound and they damn sure wouldn't do it in front of a non team member. The fact that you would post it on here makes me question that it is going on, if you know then others know and something would be getting done about it. Besides who they working for Ike Morris?

    • Harpers Ferry

      At a D3 school? Yeah, ok, sure.

  • Mr. Bullsnip

    Here is the way I see it. If a school is going to give you a scholarship to play ball for them they should pony up for it all. WVU will make about 15 million alone on the 2014 season 3.2 million coming from 1 game alone. These kids have to work year round when the are playing any sport for a major college. There is no down time except for 2 weeks in the summer other wise you are lifting, conditioning, getting bigger,stonger,faster. Most adults do not work this hard at their regular jobs ever. I think they should get all they can because when they are done and the school has got all they can out of them they are chucked to the side like garbage and a new one steps in. Then it time to start paying back loans they had to take out just to get by on.It's not cheap by any means even if you have a full ride it does not cover all your expenses.

    • John

      Some of you on here are spiteful. You milked these young men for all the entertainment value you could get and now they want to be compensated for a little more and you turn on them because their playing days are over and their entertainment value to you is now zero. Some fans are truly vindictive and selfish. Some say they would take the full scholarship In a heartbeat but do you have the talent and did you ever try to put in the time and effort it takes to be an NCAA athlete? Obviously not. I say go Shawnee Alston every NCAA athlete should thank you because the students, fans, and administrators have forgotten you and could care less about your future.

  • David

    Excellent point DR...

  • David

    Try going to college without a scholarship and see how much it costs Shawne.

    Nobody is making these kids or you play football....

    • WVcitizen

      How did John Brown miss this dude???

  • WVcitizen

    I played D1 college football on scholarship and now I have a son doing the same.
    The only thing I would add is it would be nice to get a little more spending money. Not for partying and not because of what others get like the coaches. I would like to see the athletes get it because it is necessary. Low income and middle class families could use the scholarship to cover clothes, transportation and food.
    For example I played in state and always went home for holidays but my teammates especially the ones that lived a good distance away (Florida, Georgia) rarely went home due to money issues or transportation issues.
    I would think if these atheletes were on scholarship the univesity could help pay for this.
    I think that is fair!

    • Darren

      What I don't understand in the arguement for the poorer student athletes, why can't they get grants or student loans like the rest of the student population?

      • Wow

        Very good point.

    • TB

      WVcitizen: "Fair" would be every student receiving funds for outside expenses. "Fair" would be every student getting a free education. "Fair" would be every student afforded the avenue to make millions post graduation. "Fair" would be every student playing a game in trade for a free education. "Fair" would be every high student afforded the opportunity to receive a free education for playing a game. Ridiculous ! Don't have to accept the scholarship! Oh, that would mean passing up something FREE!

    • DR

      Ok first off kids from other states choose to come here cause they get their college PAID FOR. Let's use the military for example, a guy stationed in California but is from West Virgina!!!!!!! You think he has money to come home for holidays? NOPE!!!!! D1 athletes now days "the ones on scholarship" fit the mold of silver spoon in mouth and they want more LOL! Due something noble and serve your country

      • WVcitizen

        That is one of the points of the article...that these are scholarship athletes.
        The question from the article is should the athletes get more than scholarship money?
        Military is a career so I don't believe it jives with this article.
        Unless you been there and done that on the D1 Level you can't totally understand what this is all about.
        Its not about greed it is a BUSINESS. Some scholarship athletes only do enough to get the basic things paid for but then there are others (the stars) that sign autographs, do newspaper interviews, radio and television interviews and visit kids at schools. The school sales jerseys with their names on it, etc... These high profile athletes should get compensated for these things and any other duties outside of playing their sport.
        It has to be based on an individual bases not collectively.

  • John

    This would simply make the powerful more powerful and the smaller schools less competitive. I do think it is wrong to hold a student to his 4 year commitment when the coach that recruited him can leave any time more money comes along. I don't know the answer, but this isn't it. I don't watch pro sports for this very reason. It's not always about money. Or at least it shouldn't be.

  • Independent View

    Football players at major DI programs are a pampered lot.
    In addition to scholarships that covers their tuition, room & board, books and various expenses, they are provided personal nutritionists, tutors to get most of them through their bonehead core classes, 1st class hotel accomodations and meals when traveling with the team, a personal trainer to work on specfic skills, disounts and freebies from appreciative merchants throughout Morgantown and believe it or not, many get free off-campus housing and a university provided automobile.
    To get your college or university education free, even if it requires 5 years and all of the perks that college athletes enjoy---it takes a TON of Gall to sue for more! And, WVU football sure did not get their money's worth with your play Alston!
    Academic students would love to have a portion of what student athletes are provided-for free!

    • Harpers Ferry

      Plantation owners provided housing for their slaves. Just sayin'.

      • WVcitizen

        Please go crawl back under your rock!
        The war is over and you LOST!

    • BuckWild

      100% agree Independant View. It took me 10 years to pay off my student loans for going to WVU for 2 years. Stayed at home and atteneded Potomac State first 2 years as well. Would I have "struggled" like these poor atheletes have to do for 4 or 5 years to get my education paid for? In a heart beat everyday of the year. Not to beat Alston up over this but someone said he didnt perform that great for us anyway. If the atheletes don't like the deal, don't accept the scholarship. Go into Education and teach or engineering and then go find a job and be productive in society. This is a sueing world anymore.

  • robert

    I don't know the answers. The current state of coach's salary and the arm's race in Major College Football and Basketball is simply out of whack.
    But, here are athletes who sign on to play, receive and education, and then say they are economically harmed. They are adults (18) generally when they sign the grant in aid. If they don't want to incur the expense -- they should go into the work force after high school.

    • J the C

      Robert, this is capitalism and free enterprise. If you want it, you have to take the good with the bad.

  • TB

    Poor Shawne. Soon there will be little difference between college football and the NFL.

  • knows

    Alcohol does cost more these days

  • Aaron

    The really bad part of this lawsuit is that were up to the NCAA governing body and the 5 major conferences being sued, they would have settled this long ago but the 6 minor conferences are the ones blocking any settlement. They don't want to have to cover the cost of the stipend that would be required to cover the increased cost to the student athlete.

    • Rick S.

      Eventually, this issue is going to split the NCAA into another division, at least for football. We will have the mini-NFL division consisting of the five (or four) major conferences with player stipends and licensing payments; and the remnants of what is left from the current FBS (MAC, Sun Belt, Mountain West, etc.).

      I can't help but wonder when the goose that is laying the golden eggs is going to be killed.