COLUMBIA - University of South Carolina president Harris Pastides took the stand Wednesday to testify in a landmark trial involving college athletics.
Pastides was called to the witness stand by the NCAA in an Oakland, Calif., courtroom. The governing body of college athletics is being sued by former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon for the right of college athletes to market themselves.
At the center of the trial is the NCAA's long-held stance on amateurism, a belief that college athletes are students competing for their schools and should be exclusively compensated through scholarships.
Pastides is in his sixth year as South Carolina's president. He plays an influential role inside the world of college athletics, serving on the NCAA steering committee studying autonomy, as well as the Division I board of directors.
Here are some highlights from Pastides' testimony Wednesday, according to multiple reports.
Pastides was questioned about South Carolina's athletics revenue and expenses in the 2012-13 fiscal year. South Carolina generated a revenue of $90.484 million, including more than $2.5 million in subsidies, according to USA Today. The athletics department spent approximately $89 million in expenses. Pastides was asked if such lofty expenses were necessary for the athletics department to conduct business, and he ensured it was.
Part of South Carolina's athletics expenses go to the cost of scholarships. The school spends about $9.06 million in scholarships, while it spends $10.57 million on coaching salaries.
The five highest salaries at South Carolina are spent on individuals who work with athletics, with athletics director Ray Tanner and Pastides tied for fifth. South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier leads the way with a $4 million salary, though his total compensation rose to $5.5 million because of one-time payments and performance bonuses for this fiscal year.
Pastides was asked what would hypothetically happen if college athletes were paid a share of the revenue earned from the use of their names and images. He said if players received some of that money, South Carolina would consider cutting athletic programs. Pastides said South Carolina would continue to participate in football and men's basketball. Baseball and women's basketball likely would also be safe, as well as any remaining women's programs to balance Title IX requirements.
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