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SBD/May 15, 2014/Colleges
Northwestern AD Opposes Unionization, But Says Athletes Deserve Voting Privilages
Published May 15, 2014
DO THE MATH: ESPN.com's Rittenberg noted Big Ten schools are "in agreement that increasing the value of athletic scholarships to federal cost-of-attendance figures needs to happen." But the increase "means different things for different institutions and different leagues, as some, like the Big Ten, sponsor more sports than others." Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez said, "It varies from $1,200-$4,900 (per scholarship) just in our league. I think ours is in the $3,000-$4,000 range, so we're probably talking about another $1 million to $1.5 million just on cost of attendance. I'm very supportive of that." Michigan State AD Mark Hollis, who said that the cost-of-attendance plan would be about $1M for the school, thinks that there "needs to be a 'firewall' between athletic departments and financial aid offices in how numbers are calculated" (ESPN.com, 5/14). Thomas said that a "full cost-of-attendance plan for all Illini athletes would cost approximately" $1M per year (ESPN.com, 5/13). Meanwhile, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said that the conference "would 'aggressively' defend itself against several antitrust lawsuits challenging the collegiate model, even if the cases go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court" (ESPN.com, 5/14).
LEADER OF THE PACK: In Des Moines, Andrew Logue wrote, "If you're looking for a villain, Jim Delany is the guy. Just give him credit for being a visionary, as well." It is "easy to blame" Delany for "nudging us down a path of conference realignment, athlete unrest and possible Supreme Court rulings." But the "truth is, we were probably heading in that direction anyway." Delany said, "I think it’s really an issue that people want college athletics to succeed, and they want the imbalances to be brought into balance." Logue noted things are "at a tipping point, but life under the NCAA umbrella was never as clean or homespun as we pretended." And Delany "doesn’t mind making a splash." He "isn’t trying to dump on the mid-major conferences by seeking more institutional control, but he doesn’t want to be weighed down by them, either." To his "credit, Delany was touting athlete trust funds and expanded educational opportunities years before the NCAA was legally cornered" (DESMOINESREGISTER.com, 5/14).