The Out-of-State Tuition Issue Explained

Scholarships for athletes aren't free, and the same rules apply for those who foot the bill - the athletic departments - as they do for the general population of students. If you reside outside California you pay more, a lot more. This can be a major hindrance when trying to recruit top talent. Our recent talk with SJSU Athletic Director Tom Bowen offers a possible solution.

If this item didn't jump out at you while reading Inside Sparta's May 13 chat with Tom Bowen, then check your pulse: thing Bowen would like to do is expand the pool of student-athletes available to the programs. Right now a significant inhibiting factor is the cost of out-of-state tuition. Scholarships are paid for by the Athletic Department. For an in-state player the cost is approximately $2,392.00 for Fall 2009, according to the San Jose State website. Non-California residents are charged those fees plus $339 per unit for the fall semester. For 12 units that is an additional $4,068 per student, making the cost almost three times higher for student athletes who come from other states. Bowen is seeking to mitigate some of that cost.

"We've applied to the CSU Chancellor for out-of-state fee waivers," Bowen said. "All the big conference schools allow them and it gives them a huge advantage for recruiting top players from all over the country. Right now we're trying to get 8-10 waivers." The waiver would allow the Athletic Department to pay in-state fees for players who live outside California...

Talk about an advantage. Or a disadvantage.

The Spartans are fortunate that home is the state of California where the talent pool is populated with prep and junior college prospects. Granted, there is more in-state competition than elsewhere for recruits because The Golden State is also flush with a large number of colleges and universities that play D-1A athletics.

In men's basketball, San Jose State currently has one import as DaShawn Wright has completed his eligibility and Anthony Dixon, out of Chicago, is taking his place on the roster so to speak. C.J. Webster's status was initially out-of-state but he's been here for two years now and he hopefully is no longer considered a Texan for tuition purposes. Thus, Spartan basketball is heavily weighted with Californians.

How do the other members of the Western Athletic Conference measure up in comparison?

In 2008-2009,
  • Boise State's roster had nothing but out-of-staters on the men's basketball roster.
  • Idaho also featured all non-natives

Of course, the state of Idaho is not known for producing D-1 prospects in any sport so BSU and IU are forced to go the more expensive route in order to be competitive.

  • Hawai'i is another conference school with demographic limitations, especially in basketball. 12 non-residents populated the Rainbow Warrior roster. Only one Hawaiian -- a walk on -- is is on Bob Nash's roster.
  • Fresno State's men's basketball team contained four non-natives, three more than San Jose State's.
  • Louisiana Tech is situated in the heart of basketball (and other sports) central, although high schools in places like New Orleans are not necessarily turning out athletes who can meet college academic entrance requirements. Curiously, the Tech roster had no in-state players this past season although Kenneth Cooper qualified as such before he was jettisoned from the team.
  • The state of Nevada produces many, many more basketball prospects from the Las Vegas area than from The Biggest Little City in the World but two Reno-ites -- Armon Johnson and Luke Babbitt (the best players on the team) -- resided on the Wolf Pack roster. It seems odd that Mark Fox hadn't landed any Vegas recruits but we also don't know if he pursued any. However, Fox did have a New Orleans player -- Alyaro Phiilips by way of Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia -- before he was booted from the team after the season.
  • New Mexico State is another WAC affiliate that generally has to look outside of the state for talent. Only Gordo Castillo had Land of Enchantment roots, having played high school ball in Las Cruces. Two Canadian players and one from Senegal inhabit the Aggie roster and the remainder are from various locations around the country.
  • Utah State benefits from its presence in a territory more attuned to basketball than any other sporting endeavor. Usually football is the king sport in any state in this country and, while the Beehive State does produce gridiron prospects, it's much more fertile land of hoops. Seven Utah natives populated the Aggie roster in 2008-2009.

In summary, some of SJSU's WAC opponents in men's basketball are forced to mostly bring in out-of-state recruits due a dearth of local/regional/statewide eligible talent while others are selectively picking and choosing. But the bottom line is that each squad had significantly more non-state residents on their respective rosters than San Jose State. Fresno State, the closest competition for the Spartans, enjoyed a plus-3 advantage in 2008-2009. SJSU can get away with this and remain competitive because of the inherent advantages of being situated in California, but there assuredly has been, and will be, times that an out-of-stater or two could have filled a hole -- such as when a 'big' is needed but the state prep and junior college ranks of such are thin. Men's basketball would certainly profit from having two to three out--of-state waivers available in such situations. May CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed agree for the sake of competition and in leveling the proverbial playing field.

Kevin McCarthy is the Basketball Editor for Inside Sparta. You may contact Kevin with any questions, comments, or tips at

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