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by | CBSSports.com Columnist

SEC commish Slive open to talk about 'full cost' scholarships

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SEC commissioner Mike Slive told CBSSports.com Thursday afternoon that he "looks forward" to the discussion on whether or not to increase the value of athletic scholarships to cover "the full cost of attendance."

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany told reporters at the conference meetings on Wednesday in Chicago that his league has seriously discussed the issue.

Athletic scholarships normally cover room, board, books, and tuition. There is no allowance for incidental living expenses. There have been numerous studies to suggest there is a gap of about $3,000 to $5,000 per year that the scholarship does not cover.

"I have long thought that we should revisit the limitations on the current scholarship model and perhaps expand it to cover the full cost of attendance," Slive said from his office in Birmingham. "I look forward to that discussion."

Adding an additional $3,000 to each athletic scholarship would be costly but something the larger conferences could do thanks to their lucrative television deals. The same cannot be said for the smaller Division I-A conferences whose budgets are smaller and struggling now to keep up with the big boys.

Thanks to its TV deals, each Big Ten school will earn between $20 million and $22 million this year. The SEC will distribute its revenue during its spring meetings in Destin on May 31-June 3. Last year each SEC school earned an average of $17.3 million in shared revenue thanks to its 15-year, $3 billion television deal with CBS and ESPN.

Two other Big Six commissioners weighed in on the issue on Thursday.

"I fully support studying the impact of increasing the grant in aid package for student-athletes," Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott told CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd. "We have not had any discussion on earmarking funds for this purpose."

Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe said "This is a topic that BCS commissioners discussed at recent meetings and one that we agreed to review with our respective member institutions at spring conference meetings, which I intend to do at the upcoming annual Big 12 meetings."


Tony Barnhart is in his fifth season as a contributor to CBSSports.com. He is a college football analyst for CBS Sports and The CBS Sports Network. Prior to joining CBS he was the national college football writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for 24 years. He has written five books on college football.
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