NCAA Stipend Hold-Up Highlights Pay-for-Play Pitfalls

The much-ballyhooed proposed NCAA stipend of $2,000 toward the full cost of attendance looks to be dead on arrival. The cause of death? You guessed it: Money, or more appropriately stated the lack thereof for many athletic departments. Per the Associated Press:

The governing body said Thursday the number of schools seeking an override had reached 125 - the necessary number to suspend the rule until it can be reconsidered by the Division I Board of Directors at January's NCAA convention.

The board passed legislation in October to give some athletes an additional $2,000 toward the full cost-of-tuition, money that would go beyond tuition, room and board, books and fees. Some schools have expressed opposition because they believe it violates the NCAA's philosophy on amateur sports. But most are concerned about compliance with Title IX rules requiring schools to treat men's and women's sports equally, or the budget hit athletic departments will face with incoming recruits next fall.

The emphasis of the boldface type is mine, but it nevertheless deserves heightened attention. Keep in mind here that at issue is a relatively small, almost nominal amount of money that is being cloaked as additional scholarship money and not as actual compensation for services rendered. Even so, this measure has been easily blocked and it's clear that the financial limitations of schools -- and in particular small schools -- are the real culprit, and any philosophical objections over amateurism are at best window dressing thrown in for added effect.

We can discuss as you wish whether or not college athletes should be paid, but developments like this make it exceedingly clear that any such discussions are little more than hypothetical scenarios involving theoretical schemes. Athletic departments in their current state are highly stressed financially as it is, and there is simply no way that athletes can be paid additional monies (even if it's a relatively nominal amount) without having to make massive changes to the fundamental structure of the current system.

Revenues can (and probably will) be increased in the years ahead, but those increases will not be substantial enough to pay for additional outlays of this magnitude, and many of those revenues will in fact be offset entirely by the rising cost of attendance. For something to this effect to legitimately come to fruition, we'll have to see something along the lines of a dramatic elimination in the number of sports and/or scholarship athletes, the repeal of Title IX, the secession of major schools and conferences, or something else of similar impact such that the bottom-line financials can work for the member institutions involved. Again, something more substantive must be changed to see any form of pay-for-play legitimately come to fruition.




This is most definitely Pandora's Box

The players deserve something, though.
What dou think goes through their minds when they see tickets being scalped for $2000 or more while they can’t even afford to go out on dates?

Well that money for scalped tickets isn't going to the university either.

No shoot

everyone who has been clamoring for paying the players have been totally ignoring the drawbacks which such a system will face. Other than the tens of thousands of dollars worth of free education and room and board these guys are getting, and the fact they are getting into schools that they might otherwise NOT get into, and they are getting training for possibly making millions, they now must have another $2K, which is really pocket change compared to all the rest.

But of course it really isn’t the amount, is it? It’s the think edge of the wedge, because if this happens, then sooner or later it’s all about why is it fair for football players to get this? Don’t swimmers have to eat, too? Well, will everone get this? If not everyone, they why should all football players get the same amount? Why should a bench warmer get the same stipend as a starting linebacker?

I have said in the past and will continue to say: introducing paying players into the college football system will eventually end the college football system. Once you take that first step, there is really little incentive not to take any one of many other possible next steps (some of which I’ve outlined above), all of which lead to sports being eventually turned into a minor league – maybe affiliated with a school, but that being in name only. Say something like 18 year olds getting paid to play for “The University Of Alabama” but not being REQUIRED to go to school there. Or maybe the team having to have 50% of their players go to school, or something like that. I can’t say the replacement will be better or worse than what we are currently doing, but neither are those who advocate the change, and at least I’m asking the questions, and they generally are not looking past their immediate argument without considering the implications.

I just think they should get enough to pay their expenses.

Seems only fair to me since they are not allowed to get jobs.

What expenses?

Seriously, what expenses? Room? Check. Board? Check. Tuition? Check. Fees? Check. Free access to every single party on and off campus? Ker-Check!

This is of course assuming they have zero support from home, which does happen, but what expenses do most need? Nuthin. I get they want more money so they can pay for things they want to do, but then again, so do I and so does every single other student athlete on campus and so does every single student on campus and so does all the faculty and staff.

ummm... food and clothes?

And the recommended (but not “required”) texts that their professors think they should have.

I don’t have the full break down, but their schollies do not pay for all of their living expenses.

Room and board

board sort of means food. Clothes – how do they need special clothes for football, exactly? Anything their prof’s recommend will certainly be provided by their scholly.

No, recommended texts are not paid for by athletic scholarships.

And they don’t need special clothes, but they do need clothes. This is a basic living expense that is not paid for.

After researching a little more, it looks like the players are provided 3 meals a day. (I wasn’t clear on this, as I thought the NCAA had actually placed limits on this.) But I think this means cafeteria food, which admittedly may be better than average for the athletes but I don’t think they’re given an allowance for if they want to eat somewhere else once in a while.

So what you are saying is that the athletes are currently walking around buck naked? We’d better get them the $$$ ASAP!!!

And what about the women’s vollyball team!!!!! If they don’t get a stipend, classes might stop! I see your point.

I'm OK with the women's volleyball team walking around buck naked.


Here’s a good discussion from back in July.

The “full cost of attendance” is bureaucratic jargon. It includes tuition, fees, room, board, books, personal expenses and travel home.

Not all of this is paid for currently by athletic scholarships but this is what the federal government consider’s “full cost of attendance” when calculating financial aid.

Particularly interesting is this little nugget, which I never knew before:

In 1956, the membership approved a model to cover “commonly accepted educational expenses” that included tuition, room, board, books, fees and a stipend of $15 per month for the nine-month academic calendar. That stipend came as close to covering personal expenses as the NCAA cared to tread.
The stipend turned out to be an uncharacteristic, and lone, gesture of generosity. The NCAA members never adjusted the laundry money for inflation. In the early 1970s, when the cost of living had reached half again what it had been in 1956 (thank you, American Institute of Economic Research), the NCAA eliminated what was still a $15 monthly stipend. Suffice it to say that athletic departments are stingier than the feds.

According to this handy inflation calculator, $15/month in 1956 would be worth $120/month today.

Basically it means the current, under the table system, must remain.

The restrictions on jobs for players, and their availability to work those jobs, leaves little room for them to make any reasonable amount of money.
Therefore, players will continue to receive those $500 handshakes. And to be honest, I don’t have much of a problem with it.
Without them, we lose college football as we know it, for all the best players will go pro. High school kids could challenge the NFL for eligibility, maybe under anti-trust regulations, and possibly win. Maybe one of our esteemed legal scholars on RBR could tell us, for I am surely no lawyer.

So you are saying that your soul is intact?

for I am surely no lawyer



What’s yours is mine!

You think $500 handshakes are what keeps high school kids from challenging the NFL for eligibility??

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