Part 1: A Changing Playing Field

With the advent of huge television and sponsorship money scrutiny of the NCAA's "amateurism" policies have come under attack, especially with the large amounts of cash being generated by major NCAA football and basketball programs. When the NCAA granted the Power Five conferences  relative autonomy, the decision was made to share athletic profits with the athletes. The “Power Five Conferences” include the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, PAC 12, and SEC. Some institutions in the Power Five  are paying over $5000 per year to student athletes. This scheme is called, cost of attendance (CoA) or grant-in-aid - euphemisms for “paying student athletes” to play. Amounts vary for private universities. TCU and BYU pay the most at $4,700 and $4,500 annually to their full-scholarship athletes.
In order to compete, many of the non-Power Five conferences are starting to pay their athletes, too. In the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC), Colorado College, North Dakota, and Miami are providing CoA to their scholarship athletes this year.  North Dakota is offering $3,500 to all their scholarship athletes with payouts commensurate with full (100% = $3,500) or partial scholarship (example: 50% scholarship = $1,750) awards. Also, every athlete will be getting CoA, even in non-revenue sports. Other schools are making up their own guidelines, amounts, and requirements. Depending on the scheme, some teams may be paid differently than other teams at the same university. Some athletes on the same team may be paid differently than their teammates. Teams in the same conference may have different payment schemes. The gulf further widens between “regular students” and the paid student athletes.

The CoA payments are relatively inexpensive for the Power Five conferences. They have huge TV money and multiple profit generating sports. The PAC 12 just signed the richest 10-year TV deal with ESPN – 2.7 BILLION dollars over the next 10 years! Some non-Power Five state universities have  joined the battle, using taxpayers dollars. In the NCHC, a private school like CC with a limited D-1 menu of athletic programs and a very high endowment can easily write a check. Other private institutions with larger endowments than DU, stronger conferences affiliation or better revenue streams can join the CoA battle with little or no effect.

The result will be the stratification of D-1 universities  - some willing and able to buy the best available talent while the unwilling or unable watch hopelessly.

Tomorrow in Part 2: What is DU Doing?


Anonymous said...

DU has over 330 student-athletes. If they do offer COA stipends at lets say an average of $3,000 each, that adds about $900,000 more per year to the sports budget. If the athletic budget is about $25 million (and at least half of that is hard dollars and not soft scholarship money charged to the department by the parent entity (DU), they are looking at some serious new money that needs to come from somewhere.

DU is an affluent school, but it probably does not have this spare million lying around. CC can do it because it only has to supply COA to two teams of D-I athletes (maybe 40 kids), since the rest of the school's sports are NCAA D-III. UND can do it because they have 12,000 full hockey seats (twice our size arena) plus football revenues. Miami also has football revenue that DU does not have.

Plus, I don't think DU believes in paying players beyond scholarships. I could be wrong, but if a player chooses another school because of $3,000 more offered by someone else, I think they probably weren't the right fit for us. DU has very few athletes from truly underprivileged backgrounds where the $3k would make a big difference.

Charles Dorison said...

I disagree Anonymous. I'd think plenty of DU scholarship athletes could use a small stipend for social/economic reasons. When I attended DU, kids got $100 monthly as "Laundry Money ". It was legal.

Anonymous said...

All students could certainly 'use' the stipend - that wasn't my point.

My point was that if an prospective hockey player has a full ride offer from DU and a full ride offer from North Dakota and the kid chooses UND because the stipend was offered by UND but not DU, then that's a dumb reason to choose a school, and DU would be better off without the kid.