COLLEGE PARK, Md. » President Barack Obama says compensation for college athletes would "ruin the sense of college sports."
Obama said in an interview released Saturday that what frustrates him, though, is college coaches, athletic directors and the NCAA making huge amounts of money while an athlete is banished for getting a tattoo or free use of a car.
"That’s not fair," Obama told The Huffington Post in response to a question about whether college athletes should be compensated because they are money-makers for the NCAA, television stations and advertisers.
Compensation would "create a situation where there are bidding wars. How much does a Anthony Davis get paid as opposed to somebody else?" Obama said, referring to the power forward who played one season at Kentucky before heading to the NBA.
"And that I do think would ruin the sense of college sports," Obama said.
The interview was released Saturday, hours after Obama cheered as his niece’s Princeton team remained undefeated by topping Wisconsin-Green Bay in an NCAA Tournament first-round game played in Maryland.
Obama’s niece is Leslie Robinson, daughter of Michelle Obama’s brother, Craig Robinson. She did not appear in the game for her team.
Obama sat a few rows away from courtside surrounded by an entourage that included his daughter Malia, mother-in-law Marian Robinson, Craig Robinson and other Robinson family members. Both Craig Robinson and the first lady are Princeton graduates.
Michelle Obama missed seeing her niece because she is traveling in Cambodia.