Blog Entry

NCAA President Emmert on 'full cost scholarships'

Posted on: May 31, 2011 3:44 pm
Edited on: May 31, 2011 4:04 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson

NCAA President Mark Emmert has only been on the job officially since November, but as many have pointed out - there has never been a more tumultuous time in college sports. From player and coach scandals to the ongoing criticism of the Bowl Championship Series (and scandal within the BCS), it seems that many of the pillars of the NCAA have come under more scrutiny in the last year than ever before.

One particular hot-button topic recently endorsed by Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and SEC commissioner Mike Slive is the idea of discussing "full cost scholarships" for student-athletes. Many people believe that the amount of money given to student athletes in their scholarships does not cover the full "cost of living" during their time at the college or university. Emmert was a guest on Mayhem in the AM on 790 the Zone in Atlanta on Friday, and weighed in on student athletes being paid.

"I’m as adamant as I’ve ever been about having student athletes be students. We do in fact provide it to many of our universities - full cost of attendance scholarships and financial aid. It’s really consistent with everything that goes on inside of universities and it wasn’t widely covered in the media. This was something I’ve been talking about again for six months. The notion of converting student athletes to employees and providing them with a salary and changing their status from one student athlete to ‘quasi-professional’ that’s where I draw the line and I draw it sharply.”

What Emmert believes is not "covered well by the media" includes non-athletic scholarships offered by universities. Many "full cost of attendance" scholarships include stipends for extra living expenses. The argument, of course is that providing such stipends for student-athletes would jeopardize their amateur status. Not to mention, current requirements under Title IX legislations would require for thousands upon thousands to be poured into the program by universities to ensure balance is maintained among the different athletic teams.

When you listen to the interview (you can stream the MP3 from 790 The Zone here), Emmert goes on to defend the swag from bowl games with the "tradition of college football." The issues at hand are present because they were not considered when the rules were established in the "tradition of college football." Now we are dealing with the intersection of the "tradition of college football" and the "business of college football."

Since: Oct 16, 2007
Posted on: May 31, 2011 8:58 pm

NCAA President Emmert on 'full cost scholarships'

I would agree that student-athletes should not be paid a salary. However, being a student-athlete is a lot more time consuming then most jobs held by college students, even those who say they work two jobs (I always wonder how many hours all the people who supposedly have two jobs actually work). It is virtually impossible to be a student-athlete and work a job. This is because a) The NCAA is very strict about what kinds of jobs can be worked and b) the only employer who is willing to hire someone with as many scheduling issues as most student-athletes have, is one who we probably don't want a student-athlete working for. 

I would be in favor of each student-athlete who is on scholarship having the ability to also receive a stipend. This is much the same way as Graduate Assistants who are on a fellowship or assistantship get paid. You could have these stipends be something the student athlete would apply for, and they could be based on need, with any scholarship athlete at the school eligible.

Suppose you had a maximum amount of $3600/year ($400/month for 9 months).
You could then prorate the amount given on a sliding scale based on FAFSA (the same Federal system used to apply for any need-based financial aid).

I agree that the amount of money a scholarship is worth, especially to out of state students, is often very significant.

However, let's all be realistic. The money for tuition, housing, books and supplies comes in an goes out.
Further, the money for "board" is enough to eat 3 square a day at student housing, and not much more (perhaps not even that for the offensive lineman who is espected to maintain a 300lb. + playing weight).

With little ability to have additional employment, there is no money to do anything that college students should be allowed to do (i.e. drive to/from campus on their scooter or 1995 Neon when they are an upper-classman, go out to eat at a restaurant every once in a while, and yes, even go enjoy a few drinks with friends or take their girlfriend/boyfriend out on a date once in a while).

Having a system like this would accomplish a few things:

1) There could be stringent academic requirements to receive these stipends, which would encourage better performance in the classroom.
2) This would mitigate the need for student-athletes who had limited financial means to seek other financial avenues.
3) Because these stipends would be need-based, it would allow for additional levels of oversight with respect to the finances of students and their parents. 

I don't advocate for hand-outs, especially to high-end players. The players who are good enough to generate revenue for their universities through merchandise sales are going to see the benefits of their athletic abilities down the line. 

On the other hand, many of the best players in college athletics are also from families of very limited financial means. And, despite the media focus on such athletes who abuse the system, a vast majority of these young men and women perform both inside and outside the classroom. They should not have to be destitute for four years when the athletic budgets of the universities they attend are, quite often, more than healthy. 


Since: Mar 1, 2007
Posted on: May 31, 2011 8:56 pm

NCAA President Emmert on 'full cost scholarships'

  Does this mean that the "student-athletes"  will now have to pay for the tutors that they get for free?    The average student doesn't get a tutor.     
; How about paying the athletes if they graduate in 4 years, no red-shirting or any of that stuff.    No graduate, no pay.      The pro-caliber college players wont care and will leave early anyway.   The true student athlete will take advantage of the education and stick it our for 4 years.

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: May 31, 2011 8:36 pm

NCAA President Emmert on 'full cost scholarships'

Hey Emert, A Big F**K you to you and your hypocritical ilk...

These b**tards are making a living off of these kids and they get "an education?!?"

An education in what, how the system has been broke for forty years?!?

How about we eliminate the NCAA and redirect the money to subsidize all student's tuition?!?

I think that would be a great plan; ask him how he feels about that...

Since: Apr 1, 2007
Posted on: May 31, 2011 8:10 pm

NCAA President Emmert on 'full cost scholarships'

$30K is conservative figure. I know that in state tuition at Arizona is $10,200 and out of state tuition is $25,000. Books are at least $1,000 and
miscellaneous fees are another $1,000. Dorms cost about $800/Month and then there are meals. They also get top medical care.

Many non athletes graduate with heavy student loan debts and work for years just to pay off these loans.

Since: May 31, 2011
Posted on: May 31, 2011 7:44 pm

NCAA President Emmert on 'full cost scholarships'

If they want to consider giving some additional compensation to student-athletes, then how about this:

Each team gets a percentage of "non-sport-related revenue" attributed to their team.  For example, a percentage of jersey sales, or food/beverage at a game.  Then each athletic department can choose how to divide that up between the athletes.

Football players will get a percentage of football revenue, basketball players from basketball, lacrosse from lacrosse, etc.

Since: May 25, 2007
Posted on: May 31, 2011 7:08 pm

NCAA President Emmert on 'full cost scholarships'

First, as I college grad who worked several jobs to put my way through school, I find it insulting, as everyone should, with the notion that college athletes are not compensated. Let's assume average tuition for most big universities is around $20K a year, throw in another $2K for books and lab fees, at least another $10K for room and board per year, and an most athletic scholarships for football are good for five years (a redshirt season) and and you are at $150K over five years!!
So give me a break. No one would think this is unfair, especially that student flipping burgers to pay for his rent and taking out massive loans to afford tuition. If there is a student-athlete out there who thinks he is being treated unfairly then quit playing the sport and get your lazy rear to work like the rest of your fellow students.

Second, an enormous increase in athletic scholarships would have to be across the board. Title IX WILL NOT allow an increase for just football. Thus bankrupting EVERY athletic department. An increase for football means an increase in volleyball, swimming, softball, basketball, gymnastics, etc. 
The profits for football and mens basketball are used to keep the non-revenue generating sports afloat.

While the NCAA needs to clean things up, increasing handouts to athletes is not the answer.  

Since: Dec 7, 2009
Posted on: May 31, 2011 6:57 pm

NCAA President Emmert on 'full cost scholarships'

Student athletes should in no way be compensated for playing football.  They already have the pleasure of attending high profile universities for free not to mention stipends for housing and food.  Most of these student athletes are hoping to make it to the NFL some day and that's great, but their not in the NFL right now and they shouldn't be treated like it.  I look at college sports as an apprenticeship.  Speaking from a coaches point of view; not only are you receiving a top notch education for free, but we are teaching you everything you need to know to be successful at the next level.  As talented as one may be, no one is talented enough to go straight from high school football to the pro's.  They need time to learn, progress, and master their craft.  So what do they get?  The best coaches and trainers in the country training them for free.  If they are good enough to make the NFL, they get to say that they received four years of physical and mental training absolutely free. 

Man, I sure would love to have someone spend four years training me for free just so I can turn around and make millions of dollars a year without ever having spent a dime.  Not only that, but these kids are getting 100% free medical during their tenure.  Must also be nice to have brain scans, broken bones fixed, and all the physical therapy you can get absolutely free.  None of us who pay taxes that allow those institutions to fuction see that kind of health care, nor will we ever.  Student athlets have the opportunity to receive a free education from the greatest universities in the land, receive the absolute best health care while there, and recieve the absolute best training that money can buy, and they get it all for FREE. 

Student athletes need to start looking at college sports for what they are, learning tools.  Keep your eyes up, ears open, mouths shut, and hands in your pockets for the next four years and we'll give you everything you need to be successful at the next level.  If you don't make it to the next level, at the very least you get to graduate with a degree from an institution that rivals most.  And you get it all for FREE!!

Since: Feb 22, 2008
Posted on: May 31, 2011 6:40 pm

NCAA President Emmert on 'full cost scholarships'

Are you referring to compensation to the effect of free tuition at a major university?  Athletes at a lot of these schools are being compensated to the effect of 30K per year.  Nobody going to school full time with a part time job is pulling down 30K.  For reference, most post-doctoral positions and medical residencies make about 50.  And I know that football players put in a lot of time, but they don't work more than a post-doc or resident.  So honestly, their compensation is more than fair.  Most students who work part time also don't get their tuition gratis, so I don't see why we think these guys should be getting cash above and beyond tuition.

Since: Jul 27, 2010
Posted on: May 31, 2011 5:52 pm

NCAA President Emmert on 'full cost scholarships'

It's simply not affordable for most colleges and if they can't implement it across the board, all colleges and all sports, it simply wouldn't be fair. The big schools would always get the best players because of money and that's what we are fighting now already. PLUS I'm sick of people treating the athletes like such a special thing. It is great to have college athletics but we would be nowhere without the thousands of kids who simply get academic scholarships or the kids that spend upwards of 100K over four years and spend there free time working just as hard to research, do homework and get ready for careers. So many college kids are getting far less from colleges than the athletes already get. A free ride education is huge and it's the player's faults if they are too dumb to take advantage of that opportunity and everything that comes with it. If the athletes are having trouble finding money to eat, do laundry or pay rent that's one thing, but there is absolutely no reason why the colleges should give them money for the "living expenses" (cars, jewelry, tattoos) that most of these guys are getting caught for. 

Since: May 31, 2011
Posted on: May 31, 2011 5:33 pm

NCAA President Emmert on 'full cost scholarships'

At least there is a conversation about college sports being a business. They have long tried to pass on the traditional values and belief system that was in place 30 years ago. Society and sports have changed dramatically in our lifetimes. Its time for athletes to be compensated for the work, time and effort they have given on a daily basis to perform for the fan base that supports the schools. There are many ways they could monitor these institution.... it is called creation of jobs! I know its an issue in this day and age, but this would be an ideal time for the presidents to create a system that can't be cheated through non transparency. Again, the money is always the issue... The presidents and bowl directors get nice bonuses off this BS system. Pay the athletes just like any kid going to college and working his way through school.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or