"When I was at Oklahoma, they made so much money."
That's what Adrian Peterson said Wednesday when asked whether college athletes should be paid, according to ESPN. The Minnesota Vikings all-pro running back, who starred for three years for the Oklahoma Sooners before being drafted seventh overall by the Vikings in 2007, compared himself to Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, saying they "are the ones making these universities money."
The debate about paying college players has been in the news in recent weeks. Players from Northwestern University's football team were granted the right to unionize, giving them the ability to improve benefits players receive on many different levels. At the same time, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has hinted that basketball players may have to play two years of college hoops before going pro.
"They're trying to make basketball players go two years in college. Wow. I wonder why?" Peterson said. "Think about it – just imagine if LeBron James had been in college for two years. How much money would that college have made off LeBron James? They would have made so much money off LeBron James. It's about the freedom to do as you want and make your own decisions."
James didn't go to college. He was part of an era, along with other stars like Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett, that allowed teen sensations to jump to the NBA right out of high school. The current rule does not allow players to enter the draft until they are one year removed from high school.
Peterson hopes personal responsibility becomes a major factor in the debate over compensating NCAA athletes. He became a father to his first daughter when he was still in college.
"Nobody wants to live in the dorms for four years," Peterson said. "You see the guys who are older, and they have responsibilities. I feel like, as much money as universities make, some of that should come down to the players, as well."
Meanwhile, Peterson is focused on getting healthy following offseason surgery. Read all about that right here.