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The problem is scholarship rules have lagged behind the times, said Pac-12 Conference Commissioner Larry Scott, now in his fourth year in the job. His conference, like most of the major ones, supports a stipend.

“The scholarship rules don’t allow you to cover the full cost of attendance,” he said. “Doesn’t cover things like miscellaneous meals, trips home, clothes and other things. For me there has been a gap.

“This does not cross the philosophical Rubicon of paying players.”

Players, naturally, agree.

“It kind of goes both ways,” said Alabama defensive back Vinnie Sunseri, whose father, Sal, is a college football coach and former NFL player. “A lot of people would say we don’t deserve it because we already get enough as college kids that just happen to play a sport. A lot of people don’t realize all the work that goes into all the stuff that we have to do throughout the day.

“I have no time during the day. I wake up at 6 a.m., lift, go to class, right after class you come back up to the football complex to watch film and get ready for practice. By the time you get out, you’ve got to go to study hall. By the time you get out of study hall, it’s basically bed time. It is really like a full-time job.”

Alabama long snapper Carson Tinker made the team as a non-scholarship walk-on, but earned a scholarship this season.

“I’m very thankful for my scholarship,” Tinker said. “All of us have bills. All of us have expenses, just like every other student. I don’t live with football players. I live with two of my good friends. While I’m at practice every day, they have a job. They’re able to pay their bills, buy food, stuff like that.”

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick is on the NCAA committee studying how to implement a stipend. It’s complicated.

To help build more support, Emmert’s latest proposal would make the funds need-based. In other words, lower-income students would get more money than wealthy ones.

The problem is, that could limit students’ access to federal aid, such as Pell Grants.

“If what you’re doing is subsidizing the federal government because you offset the Pell Grant, what’s the point?” he said Sunday. “What have you achieved if they are getting less money from the Pell Grant and more from you and the student-athlete hasn’t netted out an additional dime?”

Also, this isn’t just about paying football players.

“I’m not interested in having a different standard for football players than volleyball players,” Swarbrick said.

However it works out, Kelly sees stipends as inevitable.

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