In an interview with Jewish Insider, 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg insisted that it was not “fair” to expect college athletes to play without being paid.
Buttigieg also called college football’s current amateur model “problematic.”
The Indiana Democrat was asked about the risk of injury college players face, and in return, Buttigieg said, “First, you need to look at what we owe students. Obviously, the model says you get an education in exchange for contributing this way, plus the sport is supposed to be its own reward, but I don’t think that that’s really fair anymore.”
The idea has been spreading across the country. The California legislature recently passed a bill that would allow for student athletes to make money off their names and images.
Buttigieg noted that he is a Notre Dame fan, especially since he is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, the home of the university. “I think about it from a perspective of a city that relies on college football in the same way that Bahrain relies on fossil fuel,” the Democrat said.
However, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the organization that regulates college athletics, spoke out against the bill saying that it is not a legal measure, and even warned that California could be barred from college championships.
The state of New York may also be preparing to introduce a similar bill.
Buttigieg also said that if he had a son, he would “hesitate to let them play football.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.