College athletics is a billion dollar industry and for years some fans and coaches have argued the fact that student-athletes should receive a piece of the pie.

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Columbia, SC (WLTX) - College athletics is a billion dollar industry and for years some fans and coaches have argued the fact that student-athletes should receive a piece of the pie.

Thursday, the NCAA Board of Directors made a landmark endorsement passing a plan that would help student athletes financially.

The SEC is a powerhouse when it comes to revenue bringing in millions of dollars each year from Football and Basketball.

With recent TV contracts and other revenue Coach Spurrier and President Pastides say it's time to share some of the money with student athletes.

"We are all making so much money, the money is so much greater than it was 15 or 20 years ago and the scholarships have been the same, so it's about time that we started rewarded these players for the tremendous amount of money that they bring in," said Coach Steve Spurrier.

The NCAA Board of Directors endorsed a proposal to restructure how the Big 5 Conferences make rules.

The 5 include the SEC, ACC, Big 12, Big Ten and Pac 12.

Pastides says those conferences bring in a lot of revenue and the proposal would create stipends, insurance for athletes and other types of support.

"With a college degree an individual will earn a million dollars or more than someone without a degree so that's the real benefit but we do acknowledge that the TV revenue has brought a lot of money into our universities and we can do a better job sharing," said USC President Harris Pastides.

Pastides is confident that the plan will pass the full board in August. Spurrier has been a supporter of paying athletes for several years.

"I advocated way back for about 4,000 to 5,000 a year for athletes in football and basketball so I don't know how they will do it but it will be something like that. I hope the coaches can give it out too because sometimes you have walk-on players that are very deserving," said Spurrier.

Pastides says it would probably be a monthly stipend but the plan also will focus on more academic support and insurance for athletes who receive season ending injuries.

"We still have one final listening period to have all the presidents and all the athletic directors from all over America to comment, then in August we come to take the final vote and if all goes the way I anticipate it going, in January these rules will take effect," said Pastides.

With USC being a state school one might wonder where would this money come from and will tuition go up? Pastides says it won't.

"We are not going to have the non athletes subsidize athletics, we are not going to raise tuition to provide more funding but with the new tv contract and the ongoing success of the SEC, there is enough money in the athletics budget to provide some more assistance to our athletes."

This decision also comes on the heels of Northwestern University trying to unionize athletes. Pastides says that's not the way to go and it would hurt the relationship with the athlete and the school.

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