GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Roughly two weeks before Clemson cornerback Darius Robinson formally became one of six current college athletes suing the NCAA, Electonic Arts and the Collegiate Licensing Company, he told a handful of teammates that he was about to join the so-called O'Bannon case.
He also wanted to make one thing clear: It would only do it if it wasn't going to be a distraction on the field.
"That's something he felt pretty passionate about, and we definitely support him and his decision to do that," Clemson linebacker Spencer Shuey said. "Once I talked to him and got his side of it, I definitely understood that's what he wanted to do."
Shuey, like most of the players here at ACC media days, said he hadn't thought enough about the issues surrounding the O'Bannon case - which challenges whether the NCAA and EA can profit from players' likeness - to render an opinion. But several players said they were generally supportive of the idea that college athletes should receive some financial benefit beyond their scholarship.
"I think we could definitely use it," Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas said. "The way the NCAA is now, we're kind of in the limelight a lot and they can use whatever (images) they want of us. Obviously it would help us out."
ACC commissioner John Swofford said Sunday he was against the idea of paying players but would like to come up with a system to provide more assistance such as the so-called "full cost of attendance," which would essentially provide a stipend beyond the scholarship.
NCAA president Mark Emmert tried to get a stipend plan pushed through in 2011, but it was overridden in the legislative process shortly thereafter. Emmert said in January a new need-based plan was forthcoming, but so far no action has been taken.
It's an issue that highlights the divide between big-time football schools in leagues like the ACC and Southeastern Conference and lower-revenue leagues. SEC commissioner Mike Slive strongly suggested last week that an inability to come up with a stipend plan could force the power conferences to look at breaking away from the NCAA.
Meanwhile, Swofford said it was "impossible" to project what kind of ramifications losing the O'Bannon case might have on the ACC and its member schools.
"I'm sure if it does change the world as we know it, we have to have enough sense to respond in a way that is positive," Swofford said.
Though players here agreed that more money wouldn't hurt, they weren't strongly in favor of the idea that college players should be paid like professionals.
"It's a full time job, and I don't think a little bit of money would hurt, but at the same time it could be a little bit detrimental for such a young person to handle (big) money," Pitt receiver Devin Street said. "I think it's fine right now; I'm just blessed that I'm on scholarship and my tuition is paid for."
Duke cornerback Ross Cockrell said the issues were complicated because of the inequality between sports. He pointed out that Duke's lacrosse team, which won a national title, has several players on partial scholarship.
"How do you deal with that? There's a lot of questions that have to be answered," Cockrell said. "I don't know what they're going to do. It's a tough case, but I know everybody here wants extra cash. Don't you? So if that's what it means, that's what it means. We'll see what happens."