SBD/May 8, 2014/Colleges

NCAA Focus Shifts To Defining How Full Cost-Of-Attendance Scholarships Will Work

Bowlsby said there are financial implications that cannot be planned right now
While the "notion of enhancing athletic scholarships is now viewed as inevitable amid sweeping changes to the NCAA structure, the last 30 months of discussion have produced remarkably few details about what a so-called 'full cost of attendance' benefit would look like or how much of a dent it would put into athletic department budgets," according to Dan Wolken of USA TODAY. Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said, "There are a number of financial implications about which we can't plan right now. ... It's uncomfortable for us. But that's the environment in which we find ourselves." For schools in the MWC and MAC, adding the full cost of attendance to scholarships has the "potential to reshape entire athletic departments and test the willingness of those schools to compete at the highest level." For the Big 12 and Pac-12, it "promises to be a new and significant line item that could force priorities to shift." Baylor AD Ian McCaw: "Obviously we have to look at every other budget process and make adjustments to make it work -- cost cutting or increase revenue, one of the two." Wolken writes ultimately, the five conferences that will "drive the discussion in the NCAA's new autonomous structure -- the SEC, ACC, Big 12, Pac-12 and Big Ten -- will have to come up with some sort of standard formula about what's included in full cost of attendance." Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione said, "When we say it's complicated, this is not bureaucracy grinding to a halt. It's a whole new mindset that has to be thought through." Wolken notes at minimum, school ADs are "expecting that once implemented, the full cost of attendance will add $500,000-$600,000 to their budgets, but the number could easily be larger than that depending on what's included in the final calculation" (USA TODAY, 5/8).

A CHANGE IS GONNA COME: Pitt AD Steve Pederson yesterday said that such legislation "may need to be limited to schools with appropriate resources." The issue will be "one of many" discussed Monday at the ACC meetings. Pederson: "I can't sit here and tell you  we are there yet, but we are nearing that time where we will be able to find something that makes sense and helps student-athletes out a little bit more" (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 5/8). In L.A., Chris Dufresne writes this could be the summer in which college athletics "gets its Cecil B. DeMille close-up." Several important issues are "front and center, from the outcomes of Northwestern unionization to the pending student-athlete licensing case pitting Ed O'Bannon against the NCAA." MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson said that the college landscape is "changing so fast he hasn't been able to take vacation for years" (L.A. TIMES, 5/8).
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