Proposed NCAA Legislation & You Part 2: $2,000 Stipend

Like many fans, I was once against paying student athletes. After some study on the topic, I am still against paying athletes, because athletic departments could not afford the payments. I am in favor of allowing athletes to use their athlete status for money: advertisements, a piece of jersey sales or a check for allowing their name and likeness in video games...easy money things that cause little or no interference with the student lifestyle...

This fall as Conference Commissioners trampled tradition in pursuit of TV money, 300 players signed a petition asking for a share of that television revenue.

The NCAA responded by proposing a $2,000 stipend increase.

UBeffect: Overwhelmingly Negative – We either concede a major recruiting advantage or go broke to stay on pace with the programs we already struggle to compete with.

If we do decide to pay the stipend, there are a few small positives. If we were one of the few Mid-Major teams to approve the stipend, we would have a competitive advantage over the non-stipend schools. In addition, the plan seemingly makes no adjustment for cost of living. Buffalo has a very low cost of living. If we approve the $2,000 increase, a 5-star prospect with a good sense for economics might choose UB over schools like USC. $2,000 is 7-10 months of rent at UB (or about 667 - $3 beers), compared to about 2-3 months of rent in Los Angeles (or 250 - $8 beers.)

Status: NCAA will meet in April to discuss changes and implementation.

Outlook: Mid-Majors cannot afford the stipend increase.

Major programs will talk about how this will hurt smaller budget programs, or about how it is unfair to University Faculty and Staff who have not had raises in years. This is all code for: "We are already dominating our competition, in fact athletes will even wait a full year just to come play for us, why should we pay the students more money?"

However, in the wake of Bush, Newton, Yachtgate, and Tatgate, the NCAA needs to have the perception that they are addressing the issue of of student athlete compensation. This will get pushed through by the NCAA. Who cares about the mid-majors anyway…

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