Just over a week after the NCAA announced it had passed legislation to raise the value of an athletic scholarship by as much as $2,000, the Sun Belt Conference has given the green light to its member institutions to pursue such changes.
Below is a portion of the official statement:
The institutional administrators agreed that each university will determine how cost of attendance and multiyear scholarships will be administered on each campus. This agreement was made based on the complexity of issues regarding gender equity, financial considerations and availability of various scholarships.
The Sun Belt Conference will not interfere with a university’s handling of these issues, so long as they remain in compliance with NCAA rules.
The big thing to note here is that each school will have the freedom to divide up any additional aid as they see fit. Theoretically, the amounts of additional aid could not only vary from school to school — the NCAA recommended that conferences develop a “common application” for such money — but from athlete to athlete within a variety of sports.
The NCAA has a breakdown of how this works.
The fact that the Sun Belt has decided to embrace these changes isn’t surprising — the schools aren’t obligated to act on them — but the Sun Belt isn’t exactly known for being college football’s most profitable conference, and the additional aid can only come through athletics or institutional means.
The idea of additional aid was believed to also act as a recruiting advantage for for bigger programs, further dividing the “haves” and “have nots”, so it’s interesting to see a non-AQ conference endorse this change so soon.