Increased value of scholarship idea may be in jeopardy

0 Comments

The NCAA moves at snail-like paces for just about everything, but when it comes to possibly rescinding legislation that would increase the value of an athletic scholarship to athletes, they’ll move at a blinding pace.

As you’ll recall from late October, the NCAA approved legislation that would allow conferences — and individual programs, really — to grant their athletes upward of $2,000 of extra money on top of the athletic scholarship they already received. There were provisions; head-count and equivalency sports were treated differently in terms of extra grant-in-aid that athletes would receive based on scholarship caps — or, in other words, the total amount of scholarship money for an equivalency sports like, say, baseball or volleyball — and other financial factors such as Pell Grants.

That legislation, however, could face an override during January’s NCAA convention, the Associated Press reports.

According to the NCAA’s Division I vice president of governance, David Berst, some 97 schools have signed an override measure because of four primary objections to the legislation:

  • NCAA’s philosophical change
  • Added expense required to compete with other schools
  • Title IX compliance
  • The immediate hit athletic department budgets would take.

In all, the NCAA would need 125 schools to sign the override measure by Dec. 26 in order for the legislation to be suspended. In any case, the NCAA has three options with legislation: rescind it and operate under previous NCAA rules, modify the rule or create a new proposal that would require another 60-day open comment period, or allow members to vote on the override.

But there’s a problem: there are different signing days for different sports. The NCAA estimates that about 1,000 players signed with schools in the month of November, with many under the agreement that their LOI would come with an increased amount of scholarship money because that individual institution could afford to provide it.

Berst said, though, that those who were promised extra money, would get extra money.

“We would honor the agreements that have taken place,” Berst said. “So even if you were to rescind the rule as of Dec. 26 and not operate under that rule in the future, we would honor those agreements. I think that causes the board to redouble its efforts at the January meeting.”

That makes sense. If a school was able to give an athlete that extra money before, how others vote on the matter is irrelevant.

Still, this was a matter that was signed and done. There was a 60-day comment period for the legislation that was eventually endorsed by the NCAA with the final say to be left to conferences and individual institutions.

An exta $2,000 annually is a compromise on the part of the NCAA for the athlete, plain and simple. It wasn’t as much as it could, but it was a start. Now, the one thing the NCAA’s done right in years has hit a snag.