Student Well-Being

NCAA Delays ‘Full Cost’ Athletic Scholarships, Advances Multiyear Ones

By Bryan Toporek — January 17, 2012 2 min read
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The NCAA board of directors decided Saturday to delay the implementation of the $2,000 expense allowance for student-athletes until April, but moved ahead the proposal allowing schools to offer multiyear athletic scholarships to a full vote.

The decision to delay the expenses proposal creates a major discrepancy between high school seniors who signed letters-of-intent this past fall and those who are waiting until this upcoming spring signing period.

I previewed the action last week, but for a brief recap:

• The board approved both proposals in late October, effective immediately.

• By late December, 125 schools had signed an override petition for the expense allowance, which would have allowed schools to provide student-athletes up to $2,000 in extra scholarship money per year, provided that it did not exceed the cost of attending the school. In turn, the proposal was immediately suspended until the annual convention.

• More than 75 schools also signed on to the override petition for the multiyear scholarships. However, since fewer than 125 schools signed on, the proposal simply went under reconsideration by the board this week; it wasn’t temporarily suspended, unlike the expenses proposal.

When the board convened on Saturday, members had three options with both proposals: suspend them indefinitely, send them along unchanged to the member body for a full vote, or modify them, subjecting them to another 60-day override period.

The board took option two for the multiyear scholarship proposal, allowing it to stay in place temporarily while sending it to a full member vote. The voting, which will take place online, is expected to occur in February, according to the NCAA.

“I recognize the complexities of this issue. The impact of staying the course is relatively minor,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert, in a statement. “If we err, it will be on the side of students.”

Expenses Proposal Delayed

On the other hand, the expense allowance won’t be going back into effect until 2013-14, at the earliest.

The board decided to send the proposal back to the Student-Athlete Well-Being working group, which will return it to the presidents with specific recommendations for the implementation of the proposal by April.

The board specifically highlighted three areas that the recommendations should include: “consideration of student-athlete financial need, Title IX compliance, and the potential for stockpiling by universities.”

“The point is to make sure we respond to the membership’s concerns,” Emmert said at the convention. “We just want to make sure we get it right.”

In April, the board will consider the new legislation that stems from the working group’s recommendations. Assuming it passes, the new proposal will be subject to another 60-day override period.

What does this delay mean for high schoolers?

David Berst, NCAA Division I vice president for governance, confirmed during the convention that students who signed their letters-of-intent in November and were promised the extra stipend will be able to receive that money. Those who sign in either February or April will not be eligible for the stipend.


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A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.