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NCAA expected to approve increased value of scholarships

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The proposal by some members of the collegiate athletics world to increase the value of a student-athlete’s scholarship¬†(re: covering the full cost of attendance) has become a controversial topic for the past several months. But with the annual arrival of newer, more lucrative television deals to conferences — and, in some cases, individual institutions — it’s becoming harder for universities with revenue-producing college sports to fall back on the value that higher education provides to its student-athletes.

Simply put, and we’ve stated this many times, college football and basketball are run and operated as businesses, and athletes are stretched to their maximum availability day in and day out.

Meeting in Grapevine, Texas earlier this week, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick presented an increase in scholarship value that would vary, but cap off at $2,000. Swarbrick is part of a panel of major college AD’s who not only would like to see the NCAA approve the motion, but extend scholarships to multi-year grants.

Current athletic scholarships cover tuition, room and board, books and other university fees.

The NCAA’s Board of Directors are set to meet on Oct. 26 and 27 in Indianapolis, and are expected to approve the increased scholarship value proposal on a conference-based level, meaning it would not be mandated across all of Division 1.

“The philosophy that makes this make sense to us is that, really, because of the demands we place on student-athletes, their opportunity to generate any other revenue for themselves in a way that other students do is simply not there,” Swarbrick said. “And we ought to recognize that and make up for it.”

The move, if approved, still may not cover the “full cost of attendance” for every student at every school. USA Today research found that in the 2009-10 academic year, the average cost of attendance for a student-athlete exceeded the value of their scholarship by about $4,000.

But this idea is about compromise. There will never be a “pay for play” as long as the NCAA is tied to college athletics. Additionally, and as the motion outlined, not every conference is going to be able to afford to pay its players. It’s worth including again that only 22 Division 1-A athletic programs were self-sustaining last year, meaning they didn’t rely on any university or government subsidies

The logistical and financial hurdles of attempting to cover the full cost of attendance for athletes are numerous, but this is a case where if a conference feels they can do it, then they have that option.

Personally, I think it’s the right move. TV deals and other areas of revenue are becoming too common and athletes are asked to do too much to not get something in return.

Covering the full (or partial) cost of attendance won’t stop players from taking impermissible benefits or using the money for something other than laundry and a trip home. That happens now and it’s not going to change.

That doesn’t mean the evolution of the game can’t.

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6 Responses to “NCAA expected to approve increased value of scholarships”
  1. alligatorsnapper says: Sep 29, 2011 12:48 PM

    It’s too late for me and others who went before. But, it a step in the right direction. It will be better than what it was, much better than when I was in, but still some distance to go to have full cost coverage.

    With only 22 colleges athletics being self-sustaining is startling to me, but I guess it shouldn’t. Costs travel, govt. compliance issues, coach’s salaries, Olympic sports, oftentimes every sport but football, yep, 22 Div. 1-A schools now makes sense.

  2. lbijake says: Sep 29, 2011 2:01 PM

    Wonder if the athletes are taxed on this benefit?

  3. ukeone says: Sep 29, 2011 2:34 PM

    My original contention has always been that a scholarship is something given to a student because of his or her academic achievements. In this instance, covering tuition, room & board, books & other fees makes absolute sense. But I am also considerate of the fact that not all students fit in that category. With the student-athlete, the university is not always getting that academically-driven individual (academic all-americans not included), and for the most part, is attracting those who more likely come from financially-challenged backgrounds (and a GPA that matches his or her IQ level, unfortunately) and who have the muscle & braun (not brain) to win games for their school’s $$$-sized business interests. For these individuals, covering the basic costs of education was & is never going to be enough…and, sad to say, they will find those funds elsewhere if despirate & clever enough; so, the NCAA has to take this situation seriously if it wants to curb (or eliminate) future infraction nightmres for member universities. It must realize that average student-athletes (smart or not) live in a virtual state of poverty…as merely covering the basic costs of an eduction doesn’t put ‘some necessary money’ into their pockets for many expenses not even considered by the NCAA. (A good example of this was the situation at the University of Nebraska, where for a long-time, student athletes were allowed to get “an extra textbook” to accompany their main course textbook, which turned-out to be a secondary NCAA violation of ‘extra benefits’….holy crap…this was not a limo-ride to a brothel or a boat-trip with strippers….this was ‘an extra book for their education…for crying-out loud’…& to remedy this, students, both ex & current, paid-back that extra cost to the university & that money was donated to charity…..senseless!!!) Universities recognize the need to increase the value of scholarships, but the NCAA (although considering some tinkering with their current understanding) still back-pedals on the ‘old rules.’ The NCAA needs to open-up totally and allow universities & colleges to evaluate their own individual situations, thereby giving each student his or her worth in support. To settle on a dollar amount ($2000 or whatever) is totally senseless, considering the vast differences in tuition rates & cost-of-living expenses between the universities. It should, however, consider a ‘percentage rate’ increase instead to accomodate those differences. I still believe, however, that some academic standards need to be maintained, however, the overall concern here is still for the “student” (whether academically or athletically inclined), and the NCAA needs to get off its BIG royal butt and start being more in-tune with the times. The NCAA should stop ‘considering’ so much and start acting by turning these matters over to the individual universities who know what is needed to keep their own students in-line. Settle on an increased percentage rate then let the individual schools take over from there.

  4. paulbrownsrevenge says: Sep 29, 2011 5:45 PM

    The NCAA is and always be a business. College Universities make a fortune off of every student, especially those who don’t finish school. It’s not much different than a bank loaning money to people they know can’t pay back the loan.

    The scholarship athletes are no more that unofficial university employees. They make the schools all the money, and get little in return. They all struggle to h

  5. paulbrownsrevenge says: Sep 29, 2011 5:48 PM

    have any personal possessions, and are put into a position that forces many of them to break rules. Like the South Park guys put it, It’s a slave trade.

  6. mdnittlion says: Sep 29, 2011 10:12 PM

    @ lbijake

    Ya like anybody cares about the taxes college athletes never pay on? None of the players from SMU, USC or The U ever paid taxes on any of the money they took in college. The IRS is to busy making sure Wesley Snipes or Sinbad go to jail.

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