“It is the job of the recruiter to use anything he can to get that kid,” Smith said. “This stipend is another tool.”

Just another wrinkle in recruiting:

Jimmy Smith, the football coach at Cedar Grove (Ellenwood, Ga.) High School, looked at his three players, Netori Johnson, Tre’ Shaw, and Justin Shaffer, standouts in the Class of 2017, and asked this recruiting question:

“If Kentucky and Auburn were recruiting you, and you thought the quality of the education was the same at both schools and the playing time was the same at both schools, but you knew Auburn was going to give you this for expenses, and Kentucky was going to give you this for expenses, where would you go?”

Smith pointed to a sheet of paper listing Cost of Attendance (COA) stipends for each of the 14 SEC schools. Auburn’s number was $5,586. Kentucky’s number was $2,284.

Shaw, a defensive back who has 24 offers, didn’t hesitate with his answer.

“War Eagle,” he said with a smile.

There are a lot of “ifs” in Smith’s question there, and for some kids, no doubt those will matter.  (Note what Netori Johnson had to say about his Alabama commitment, for example.)

But there are plenty of high schoolers out there for whom I suspect money will indeed talk loudly.  And recruiters will take note of who they are and target their sales pitch accordingly.

Rush Probst, the head coach at Colquitt County High School, which has won back-to-back 6A titles, said some recruiters already are trumpeting their stipends. COA is “huge” in recruiting, Probst said.

“Coaches are using it in two ways: to get in the mix with a kid or close the deal,” Probst said. “Bret Bielema has used it. He’s like me, he doesn’t beat around a bush. There’s a big difference in what one school can offer over another and kids are told that.”

Probst said he cannot blame high school football players if they pick a school based on the size of a monthly check.

“They can’t work for four years from the time they show up on campus; they are in football,” Probst said. “When are they supposed to have jobs? They need money. With all the money being made in the game, I can’t blame kids for thinking about it.”

This is not the kind of talk Greg McGarity wants to hear, dammit.

SEC athletics directors met in Birmingham, Ala., for their annual December meeting earlier this month. Greg McGarity, the Georgia AD, said COA would come up in discussions.

In a fall meeting, the athletic directors of each school had to submit the data they used for arriving at the Cost of Attendance stipend. The criteria and the methods for arriving at the COA, McGarity said, was different for all 14 schools in the SEC.

“No two were the same,” he said.

McGarity would like to see a more uniform method of arriving at the Cost of Attendance, perhaps along guidelines provided by the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Labor. It might remedy arbitrary calculations.

There are charges that athletic departments, and their recruiters, are influencing schools’ Cost of Attendance calculations. The COA applies campus-wide, not just to athletes, but if you have been following the influence of college football nationally it is not hard to imagine athletics’ influence on campus-wide issues.

If an athletic scholarship out-of-state is worth $42,000, schools do not want the actual Cost of Attendance (travel to home, etc.) to be much higher and scare away all prospective students. Schools have an incentive to keep the COA number low.

Obviously, there are schools in the SEC that would like to level the playing field, so to speak. There is quite a difference between a monthly check for $620 and $253.

“There are several of us who would like there to be some threshold there,” McGarity said. “Those at the top are not worried about it. Those at the bottom are concerned about it. There is more concern from those where it could be a recruiting disadvantage.”

And here I thought the Georgia Way was a recruiting advantage.

Welcome to the new amateurism, folks.

18 Comments

Filed under Recruiting, The NCAA

18 responses to ““It is the job of the recruiter to use anything he can to get that kid,” Smith said. “This stipend is another tool.”

  1. 92 grad

    Wait, the COA figure is going to be an expenditure received by scholarship athletes but an invoice paid to the university for all the other students? Meaning, the tuition my son pays will be 42,000 plus whatever the COA figure is?

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    • Gaskilldawg

      No.

      The cost of attendance figure includes your son’s expenses that are not payable to UGA including the cost of traveling to and from home, his cell phone and the food here buys of campus. It is an average.

      The size of the stipend Jacob Eason gets will not affect the cost of gas for your son, or the cost of dinner in Athens or his tuition and books.

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  2. JT (the other one)

    This is laughable. Why? The hypocrisy of the amount of $$$ the schools make off these kids (football programs) and branding the University’s enjoy from it and the hesitation to pay out COA to these kids. They can’t hold a job yet the school’s who are making money hand over fist (how was that last “experience” at Sanford?) keep trumpeting “amateurism”. So what new cool Georgia gear or swag did you get for Christmas GTP readers? and who gets a % of the proceeds for that gear? Note the “approved” by the NCAA tag…before you cut it off that shirt, shoes, socks etc…with the “G” logo.

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  3. RugbyDawg79

    They need to fix this and quickly

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  4. Puffdawg

    The irony in schools touting to poor high school kids a HIGHER cost to attend their school as a reason they should enroll over a college with lesser cost to attend. “Come to our school; it’s more expensive to attend!!!”

    COA Stipend is the reverse mortgage of college football.

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    • Gaskilldawg

      Exactly. Other recruiters should explain to them that with the incredibly high cost of living in Auburn and Knoxville that the players will have more spending money at Kentucky. Their is an old saying, “It’s not what you make it’s what you keep.”

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  5. Leave it to the people in college athletics to screw up something designed for the benefit of the student-athlete and turn it into a recruiting tool. Burn it down, Jeffrey Kessler, burn it down!

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    • Macallanlover

      Yes, this was so simple to handle and standardize. Leave it to a bunch that includes academic folks, and the NCAA types, with an assist from athletic department folks to turn this into a cluster. Because the cost of a movie ticket, pizza, or beer is soooooo different. Also not surprising which rats showed their sleaziness first.

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      • Gaskilldawg

        The administration types had reported the COA numbers for years. Auburn and UT decided to recalculate to benefit athletics. The SEC ought to make each team use its pre O’bannon number.

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        • Dolly Llama

          Would it really be all that unfair to anyone to make them use a flat number across the board? Yes, I know it’s probably more expensive to live in Nashville than Starkville, but would the unevenness be worse than letting the schools doctor their own numbers?

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          • Macallanlover

            No, flat rate is the solution. Can you spend an inordinate amount of time changing a dollar or two? Sure, but who is the say the factors chosen are even relevant to that particular student. You could take all students outside a 300 mile radius of the school and add a $500 dollar round trip air fare allowance for one trip home per year…but make them submit the ticket stub to get that $500. Presto, no variance of any significance. Go flat rate and be satisfied you got reasonable spending money which is far better than we ever had before, and not allowed the dirty programs to game the system. Solving every one’s single issue is both impossible and pretends that life is always fair. Just look what major issues that has caused everywhere else in this society.

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            • Dolly Llama

              The airfare piece is a really good idea. Otherwise, a flat rate could almost be seen as a parity-promoting device. Set a healthy average taking into account the truly expensive (Nashville? Baton Rouge?) places to live versus the truly dirt-cheap COL towns (Starkville? Auburn?) and let the chips fall as they may. Something tells me that when the highly recruited kids make their list of most-important things they take into account when making their decisions, cost of living in the particular locales won’t be in the top ten, or maybe not the top twenty.

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          • Gaskilldawg

            The O’Bannon case established that the NCAA setting a standard COA stipend would violate the anti-trust laws. The district court opinion allows the conferences to set a stipend but not the NCAA. I do not recall if the 10th circuit opinion leaves that option open.

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            • All the 10th did was throw out the $5K remedy.

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            • Macallanlover

              Just because a court/judge gives an opinion it doesn’t make it right, or especially wise. Our society gives far too much credit to medical and judicial opinions, some real doozies from each, imo. And no, that doesn’t change a thing but it makes me gag when I hear people say “we the people” are in charge of making the rules, just sheep being led around and down.

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  6. Ron

    What if UK outbid Auburn? Song may change

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  7. Bulldog Joe

    Leave it to Georgia to be penny-wise and dollar-foolish, once again.

    Everyone outside of Athens saw this coming.

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