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I do declare...the state of South Carolina has proposed legislation allowing for small monthly stipends to be paid to student athletes in exchange for the invaluable services they provide to the state. Despite the fact that this idea originated in South Carolina, we have few problems with the idea. Gifted students in the sciences often receive additional stipends for their work, which we remember vividly and with a touch of envy since our inability to do math limited our extra income to telemarketing, warehouse work, and the odd medical experiment.(And you wondered what explained some of the stranger entries here...)
This would all sound more reasonable, too, if South Carolina legislators had provided a funding mechanism for the stipends, considered the implications regarding Title IX, and generally thought out any of the details before half-assedly slapping the legislation on the docket. The sloppiness of the proposal hasn't been half the story, however; South Carolina hadn't just committed one of the tackiest legislative one-two combos ever: passing a bill protecting the welfare of fighting roosters, and then following the chicken bill with the defeat of a bill making domestic violence a felony after the third incident. A brouhaha resulted, which means the little stipend bill could get under the radar, mandating something the state hasn't figured out how to pay for and the NCAA might take serious issue with regarding the payment of players.

The South Carolina legislature: tackling the important issues of the 19th century.
The bill doesn't give players access to one of the easiest source of income: proceeds off of jersey sales and paraphernalia. Some universities sell individual jerseys; at the Georgia Tech store here in Atlanta, you can walk out of the campus bookstore wearing a Reggie Ball jersey and rest assured Reggie will see exactly zero of the money. Give them a cut, and you'll have a new factor in the NFL draft: a player's ability to sell a brand. What's more American than that?