NCAA Approves Stipend, 4 Year Schollies

AP - The Division I Board of Directors approved a package of sweeping reforms that gives conferences the option of adding more money to scholarship offers, schools the opportunity to award scholarships for multiple years, imposes tougher academic standards on recruits and changes the summer basketball recruiting model.

INDIANAPOLIS — The scandal-plagued NCAA is moving swiftly to clean up its image.

On Thursday, the Division I Board of Directors approved a package of sweeping reforms that gives conferences the option of adding more money to scholarship offers, schools the opportunity to award scholarships for multiple years, imposes tougher academic standards on recruits and changes the summer basketball recruiting model.

"It was one of the most aggressive and fullest agendas the board has ever faced," NCAA President Mark Emmert said. "They moved with dispatch on it, and I think they're taking positive steps for schools and student-athletes."

For decades, outsiders have debated whether college scholarships should include more than just the cost of tuition, room and board, books and fees. Now they can.

The board approved a measure allowing conferences to vote on providing up to $2,000 in spending money, or what the NCAA calls the full cost-of-attendance. Emmert insists it is not pay-for-play, merely the reintroduction of a stipend that existed for college athletes until 1972. He also compared it to the stipends received by other students who receive non-athletic scholarships.

Some thought the total amount should have been higher. At the Big Ten's basketball media day in Chicago, commissioner Jim Delany said studies have shown the average athlete pays roughly $3,000 to $4,000 out of his or her own pocket in college costs.

But many believe the measure is long overdue.

"I think it needs to happen or else I think what's left of the system itself is going to implode," said Ohio University professor, past president of The Drake Group, an NCAA watchdog. "We've always lost the moral high ground by saying the educational model is what makes this thing go. I think we're delivering a model that can exploit kids while they're here."

Extra money won't solve all of the NCAA's problems.

Schools must infer the cost of additional funding and it will have to be doled out equally to men's and women's athletes because of Title IX rules. While BCS schools have the money and are expected to swiftly approve additional funding, it may prove too costly for non-BCS schools.

There are fears it will increase the disparity between the haves and the have-nots and could prompt another round of conference realignment.

The board also approved a measure that will give individual schools the authority to award scholarships on a multiple-year basis.

Under the current model, those scholarships are renewed annually and can be revoked for any reason. If adopted, schools could guarantee scholarships for the player's entire career and would be unable to revoke it based solely on athletic performance. Scholarships could still be pulled for reasons such as poor grades, academic misconduct or other forms of improper behavior.

Ridpath said he's personally been involved with 50 or 60 appeals cases after a coach pulled a player's scholarship.

"The reason usually is they find a prettier girl to bring to the dance," he said. "If you're Frank Beamer or Nick Saban, they make a lot of money, and they should be able to coach that kid up."


The Michigan Insider Top Stories