Negative recruiting’s next frontier

James Franklin’s already laid down the marker about cost of attendance.

“There’s going to be much more awareness of it and people are going to be using it,” Penn State coach James Franklin recently told USA Today. “The (schools) that are above other (schools) in terms of the amount of aid they’re going to be able to give, they’re going to be throwing that number around. For anybody to think this won’t be a factor in the process next year is being really naïve.”

One man’s naiveté is another’s concern that there’s going to be all sorts of misinformation out there on the recruiting trail.

Each school’s financial aid office determines estimated expenses outside of tuition, room and board each year. Those numbers can vary based on several factors including cost of living in the area in question. And the legislation will allow each school to compensate athletes based on its particular formula, rather than impose a hard number for everyone to follow.

That’s a concern for those who worry that the coaches with bigger COA numbers will use them on the recruiting trail – and that recruiting considerations might inflate COA numbers. And Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis was concerned Wednesday when he caught wind of speculative numbers that are starting to circulate.

“They aren’t accurate,” he said.

That doesn’t mean seekers of truth like Franklin won’t use what they’ve got now, does it?  And what Franklin’s got is some favorable media speculation.

In a story on cost of attendance, David Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News included a ranking of 2014-15 allowances for miscellaneous expenses by Big Ten universities, put together by Jones wrote in the story that these aren’t necessarily projections of the athletic scholarship COA stipends that go into effect next year, but Internet panic often doesn’t have time for the details.

The rankings show Penn State at the top of the Big Ten with $4,788 in stipend allowance, and MSU at the bottom with $1,872. Michigan ranks 12th in the list at $2,054. Northwestern ($2,326) and Minnesota ($2,194) are located in or near big cities yet added together don’t reach Penn State’s number.

The Champaign (Ill.) News-Gazette recently listed projections for 2015-16 Big Ten stipends and listed Penn State first for in-state full scholarship athletes ($5,748 a year), U-M 10th ($2.452) and MSU 13th ($2,132). For out-of-state athletes, Penn State had the same number, with MSU ranking 10th ($2,870) and U-M 11th ($2,452).

The reality is, MSU doesn’t know yet what it will give its scholarship athletes for a COA stipend in the 2015-16 school year.

There will be more credible information, of course, as schools will have to disclose the actual stipend amounts they’ll pay.  And that’s when the fun will really begin.

Holllis and his colleagues don’t determine cost of attendance. The universities do. But he said he’s aware of the potential for inequality and for this to be another budgetary “escalating factor.”

“We’re gonna work within the rules of the game,” Hollis said, “but we’re gonna position ourselves so we can provide our student-athletes with reasonable, comparable and competitive resources.”

Reasonable?  Good luck with that.  When it comes to spending, if there’s one thing big time college football doesn’t do well, it’s reasonable.



Filed under James Franklin Is Ready To Rumble, Recruiting

19 responses to “Negative recruiting’s next frontier

  1. Clearly, the NCAA needs to get involved and have oversight of this.


  2. 3rdandGrantham

    The numbers aren’t accurate indeed. I’m very familiar with the State College area and in fact was just there in December. Though its actually a pretty cool college town and similar to Athens, its in the middle of absolute nowhere with nothing else around, with a low cost of living. I believe median home prices there are below 200k, which is absurdly cheap compared to the semi-rural college town that I live in.

    How PSU comes up with a stipend that is almost double Northwestern’s (Chicago) and Minnesota (Minneapolis) is beyond me. But, if there’s anyone that I’d peg at fudging the numbers, its PSU and Franklin. With that said, don’t be surprised when Ole Miss/Freeze release their COA which is at/near the top of the SEC. But hey, you really can’t blame them; after all, Oxford is practically Manhattan or La Jolla when it comes to overall cost of living.


    • 81Dog

      Have you seen the condos at the Trump Silo in Oxford? Man, that is LIVING. And, the dining in Oxford is very eclectic, too. There is a chef at one of the local diners who makes pigs feet in a coq au vin that is truly out of this world. No wonder the cost of living there is so high. It’s practically Hong Kong on the Delta.


  3. Daniel Simpson Day

    Auburn, Alabama; Park Place of the SEC.


  4. Hogbody Spradlin

    It isn’t just negative recruiting’s next frontier. It’s the next arms race. I bet it costs ten grand a year to live in Tuscaloosa!

    It’ll be payola in plain sight.


    • Gravidy

      I was prepared to say something like “I’ll bet it costs $50K per year to live anywhere in the state of Alabama”. But I can see that I’m late to the party.

      Does anyone think this system won’t immediately be the most abused rule in the book?


  5. Russ

    The cost of living in the megalopolis of Tuscaloosa just went up. A lot.


    • 3rdandGrantham

      Absolutely. Drabby, 2000 s.f. ranch style homes will be going for 450k+ there by 2017. Along with selling L.A., buying NYC, and any of those other real estate TV shows, I predict that Tuscaloosa will have its own HGTV program soon, with British accent agents all scrambling over who gets to represent “that lovely double wide on the east end of town.”


      • 81Dog

        I understand HGTV is looking at a reality show on real estate in Auburn called “Flip Your Trailer.” Savvy real estate speculators show you how to make tens of dollars buying and selling fixer upper manufactured housing. When the producers first went looking for participants, though, I hear a lot of locals thought it was some kind of tornado documentary.


  6. Too simple for the NCAA to just pick a number and let everyone give that. No way this can possibly go wrong.


  7. Cojones

    You have been warned for over a year about this Choo-Choo bearing down on cfb. It will get worse than what’s conjured up here.


  8. Cojones

    Houses, my ass! The used car dealers are already setting up franchises in college towns. Glitzy will be the top selling attribute.



    Does pizza costs really vary that much across this fair land? This is going to be a free for all.


  10. AusDawg85

    University Presidents: We shall arrive at a fair and accurate number.

    AD’s: Fair?! You’ve GOT to keep up with the others, just like this last round of coaching salaries we asked for.

    Coaches: Keep up?! Either I get more or I walk, guaranteed money in hand.

    Alumni: You’re raising ticket prices by HOW MUCH?!!

    Students: You’re raising tuition and fees by HOW MUCH?!!

    Players: Is this all?!


  11. 69Dawg

    The joke in law is that most laws have unintended consequences. How in the name of Pop Warner can the NCAA not know this is going to blow-up. I’ve heard that Auburn is going to be the most expensive university city in the south in which to live. Oh well, as their motto says “If you ain’t cheating you ain’t trying”.


    • 81Dog

      do you have any idea how much it costs to have a HazMat team sanitize a trailer that’s been used for cooking meth? Those yellow suits don’t just grow on trees, you know.


      • Doesn’t matter what James Franklin does, he can keep up with the Barn. Over the table money will never be a concern in Opelika State.