Power 5 leagues pass cost of attendance proposal, don't stop there

SEC commissioner Mike Slive has long supported scholarship increases. (USATSI)
SEC commissioner Mike Slive has long supported scholarship increases. (USATSI)

It's taken years of debate, months of politicking and the Power 5 conferences' move toward autnomony, but at long last the era of full cost of attendance scholarships has come to pass. 

At the NCAA convention Saturday, the Power 5 agreed to the long-simmering proposal that will increase the value of athletic scholarships toward covering expenses beyond tuition -- the federally determined "full cost of attendance." The proposal passed 79-1, with a single ACC school voting against.

The exact dollar amount per scholarship is still to be determined, but University of Texas athletes, for example, will get $4,500 to $5,000 per year, according to the Austin American-Statesman. The scholarship will now be able to cover transportation and miscellaneous expenses in addition to tuition, room and board and books.

The full cost of attendance increase was only one of several reforms passed Saturday, however. Also passing was a proposal that guarantees four-year athletics scholarships cannot be reduced or canceled for performance reasons. Per the Associated Press, that proposal was opposed by both the SEC and the Big 12

Athletes from both those conferences spoke out against the reform per USA Today, arguing it would hamstring coaches' efforts to motivate and discipline players.

"No one wants to unjustly take an athletic scholarship away," Oklahoma center Ty Darlington said. "But this definitely restricts coaches. ... There's always the guy who didn't fail a drug test, he's not ineligible, he didn't break a specific team rule, he's always at every practice and meeting but his attitude is terrible and he needs to go.

"[The proposal] is so vague. It will end up tying the hands of coaches. … A vote against this is not a vote against student-athletes." 

Other proposals to pass will allow athletes to borrow against future earnings and establish new concussion management protocols. A group of Big 12 athletic directors pushed to table the concussion protocols proposal but were ultimately unsuccessful.

"It appears we've got a commitment to ensure that the policy going forward reflects what we were seeking," Texas athletic director Steve Patterson said.

University of South Carolina president Harris Pastides told USA Today prior to the meeting it would be "an active one, even historic."

"I think it's an opportunity to, if I may say, re-plant the flag and say that the NCAA is an organization of universities that know what they're doing and can come together even with diverse perspectives and do what's right for student-athletes," Pastides said.

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