Pick a number, guys.

You know, I almost get the feeling it’s harder to figure out how to pay student-athletes than it is to actually pay them.

Universities annually list a higher actual cost of attending college beyond an athletic scholarship. It’s based on miscellaneous expenses that differ by school. A 2012 study found that out-of-pocket expenses for a full-scholarship FBS athlete ranged from $1,000 a year to $6,904 a year, depending on the school. The average NCAA gap is now around $3,500.

Just within the Big 12, the cost-of-attendance number per athlete ranges from approximately $2,000 to $5,000, Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt said. That raises the question of whether conferences will mandate cost of attendance within their league, or allow each member to decide.

“I think you’ve got to allow the schools to make their own decisions,” Hocutt said. “Although within a certain league we have certain similarities and shared interests, we are all different and have different scopes and sizes of our budgets and resources.”

Hocutt supports cost of attendance stipends for every Texas Tech athlete. “I don’t know how it cannot be across the board — for Title IX and also because it’s the right thing to do,” he said.

Not everyone has the Big 12’s resources. In the Mountain West Conference, cost of attendance would cost its schools between $400,000 to $600,000 a year if it’s a flat $2,000 stipend, commissioner Craig Thompson said. If it’s a full cost of attendance, the figure would go up.

“Everybody does cost of attendance differently,” Thompson said. “Some compute it and add this category and others don’t … That’s going to be the first big issue: Do we do it as a conference or as an institution?”

If schools do it as a group, that opens up another can of worms.

The Division I Board of Directors in 2011 passed a $2,000 cost-of-attendance stipend, only to see NCAA members override the proposal. It’s questionable whether a flat stipend could be used this time. Every FBS conference is being sued for allegedly violating antitrust laws by capping the value of scholarships. Another try at a flat stipend could be viewed by the courts as a different version of a cap.

In 2008, the NCAA settled a federal antitrust lawsuit over the same issue of miscellaneous expenses.

Hell, maybe Jeffrey Kessler’s doing the schools a favor with his lawsuit.



Filed under It's Just Bidness

7 responses to “Pick a number, guys.

  1. Bulldog Joe

    For us it’s not the amount of the stipend that’s important, it’s how many times you can cash it.


  2. Macallanlover

    This will be total insanity if they don’t pay the same stipend nationally, there is no difference in the “work” they do. Furnish them tuition, books, room, meals, and a spending allowance. If they choose to live off campus and eat at Ruth’s Chris, that is up to them. Should be no difference in what athletes are paid by school.


    • Yeah I understand the antitrust concerns, but if it’s left up to each individual school, that’s gonna be an ugly can of worms. Especially if it’s something that can be adjusted annually……….you’d have certain schools who would find new “categories” every year to include, so they could offer more stipend as a recruiting advantage. And would there be some sort of NCAA say-so in what categories are legit and what isn’t?


      • Macallanlover

        Anti-trust has nothing to do with it, it is spending money earned by their efforts. I don’t see it as any different than all Congressmen being paid the same, or beginning postal workers, except that they must show up and perform well and cannot occupy space forever. Allowing differentiation for cost of living will be a major mistake and is unnecessary if room and board is provided. Pizza, gas, and movie costs don’t vary that dramatically.


  3. Mayor

    I don’t get it. Why isn’t a college scholarship supposed to cover the full cost of attendance already? How are kids from an impoverished background supposed to attend school, play ball essentially full-time, thereby precluding part-time employment, and make it financially? Methinks the NCAA and its member institutions have been getting away with this for so long that they think it’s OK. It’s not OK. Talk about a sense of entitlement!


  4. ME

    This is easy. A scholarship= prepaid tuition/books/fees, a dorm room with shared bathroom, 21 meals a week @ the dining hall & a set allowance that covers misc school supplies/toiletries/socializing cash (I got $50 a week). If the SA wants to live/eat off campus give them the exact amount charged by the school & tell them “go for it”. That is exactly what I and my kids did after one year in the dorm. No extra support for clothing. No one went to high school naked. We had to pay for all of the above to get the education & professional development. I know I did not help UGA make $. But no single player does either; the team does. I agree that lifetime medical for injuries, four year scholarships (including summer sessions), etc are appropriate. Coach salaries don’t matter. Company presidents/CEOs usually make a lot more. We need to eliminate the “I deserve a piece of the pie” attitudes we have created. When schools started “competing” for SAs, it all went downhill. We need to make the SAs “compete” for the education & professional sports development. IMHO, we all know that the SAs that think they deserve a “piece of the $ they make for the school” don’t care much about the education/degree.