Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Sunday instead of focusing on paying college athletes, the goal should be improving graduation rates.
In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Duncan said coaches and athletic directors should be paid based on students’ academic performance.
“The incentive structures for coaches, the incentive structure for ADs have to be changed so that much more of their compensation are based not on wins and losses, but around academic performance and graduation,” he said.
“University presidents and boards have been very complacent and soft on these issues. You really have to look at the leadership at these universities here.”
Duncan, who played basketball for Harvard University, said he grew up on Chicago’s South Side and witnessed players making money for universities, but not coming home with college degrees.
“If you want to help young people long-term, the most important thing we can do is help them get that degree,” he said.
Students should “use sports as a vehicle to get an education,” Duncan added.
His comments come the same day a poll from The Washington Post found only 33 percent support paying college athletes while nearly two-thirds of people say they are against it.