Anyone out there opposed to giving athletes up to an extra $2,000 on their scholarship just got one big reason to back them up.
The legislation proposed by the NCAA last fall to allow schools to provide additional money to student-athletes was ultimately met with some extreme opposition — enough to suspend the idea until April so it can be revisited by the NCAA’s Board of Directors.
Whether or not they’ll take former Middle Tennessee lineman Preston Bailey‘s situation into account remains to be seen. Bailey was arrested earlier this month and charged with possession of a schedule VI drug with intent to sell and possession of drug paraphernalia. Police officers also found nearly a pound of marijuana and roughly $3,000 in cash in Bailey’s apartment.
But it was how Bailey, who has finished up his career and was placed on medical scholarship this semester due to a number of injuries, reportedly funded his drug business that is the most relevant to the NCAA BOD. A Murfreesboro Police spokesman said Bailey “used his scholarship money as start-up money for his illegal drug sales business.”
Naturally, MTSU’s athletic director Chris Massaro was stunned.
“This is one kid who did this, but even one is too many. To use (scholarship money) to sell drugs is outrageous,” Massaro said to the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. “We try to do everything we can to prevent this kind of thing and we think about what more we can do every day.”
Athletic programs are very involved in an player’s daily life, but it’s impossible to know what every kid is doing all the time. When athletic scholarship money is involved, the program becomes like a compliance office: the best they can do is try and educate athletes on how to live within their means.
As it pertains to an additional stipend, obviously you can’t assume every kid is going to use their scholarship money to fund a drug business — except at TCU, where, depending on who you ask, anywhere between five and 60 players are buying and selling drugs* — but instances like these don’t provide any favors to NCAA legislation already under intense scrutiny.
(*joking. Well, sort of)
(Photo credit: MTSU athletics)