Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M’s extremely talented offensive tackle, could have gone pro, but elected to come back to school for his senior year. One reason for that is TAMU agreed to throw upwards of sixty grand into the pot to cover the premium for a loss-of-value insurance policy.
Now, while I find that admirable, I also think it’s pretty obvious that’s nothing the school is going to do every day. For one thing, the source of funds is limited.
Texas A&M, though, had researched a newer NCAA rule that offered them some flexibility, where the school itself could actually pay the difference out of the Student Assistance Fund, which each school has at its disposal to cover things such as the cost of post-eligibility financial aid, or if a student-athlete can’t afford to travel home in cases of emergency, or if they need a suit to wear to university functions or events like SEC Media Days.
It’s not an unlimited pool, and the NCAA creates its yearly limit for all schools so each has to budget where its money goes for that year. According to the SEC office, last year each of its members allotted $350,000 for the fund.
For another, and more obviously, it’s only the top-notch talent that justifies such an outlay. (And if you do the math, that’s some outlay – almost 20% of the fund.)
But here’s what I find interesting to consider. All that talk we heard during the debate about how allowing players to benefit from the market value of their names and likenesses would be bad for team cohesion because some would fetch greater compensation for those than others – how does TAMU stepping in for Ogbuehi like that pose any less of a problem for team unity? I’m guessing that Coach Sumlin, A&M O-line coach B.J. Anderson, Aggie associate AD for football Justin Moore and veteran director of football operations Gary Reynolds, all of whom visited Ogbuehi and his family to make the insurance pitch, aren’t particularly concerned.