A topic of disucssion at the Summit League meeting this week in Chicago is the NCAA proposal to add $2,000 to a student-athlete’s grant, legislation that is being pushed by NCAA president Mark Emmer and was passed on Thursday. The purpose is to help defray the costs of college taking into account athletes have limited opportunities to work outside of the classroom.
It still has some boards and committees to go through, but NDSU athletic director Gene Taylor believes it could reach the NCAA membership for a vote by April. (Correction later today from Taylor: Now that the Division I Board of Directors passed it, there will be no more committees or discussion). Suffice to say, adding $2,000 per athlete is rather concerning to the have-nots of Division I athletics — like teams in the Summit League.
Taylor said the conference will collectively have to make that decision for members to institute the additional grants. He also said there are a lot of questions, such as how will partial scholarships be affected or what are the implications to gender equity. Taylor said NDSU has yet to estimate what a $2,000 per athlete addition would do to its budget.
“I don’t want to say I’m concerned right now but if we as a conference say we support it … I don’t know,” he said.
I’ve read many of the comments from supporters and dissenters on this legislation. I understand some of this comes from extra fees, like costs for a lab, that are not covered by a scholarship that kids from low-income families struggle with. It’s not $2,000 to go to the local mall. Well, then itemize it and have to covered by the scholarship. My best argument comes from Boise State President Robert Kustra, who told ESPN. com try telling this to the rest of the student body “who are making minimum wage, collecting tips, trying to find their way into their next semester at the university … Go back and examine the life of a student-athlete in intercollegiate sports in America today, and see how privileged they are to be where they are and the opportunities they have.”
At NDSU, a full scholarship is worth thousands, somewhere around $80,000 to $90,000 over four to five years. They earn it, but it’s still a lot of money and it’s enough of a reward.