I was very pleased to see that the schools in the Big Five college conferences voted almost unanimously for scholarship student athletes to receive full cost of attendance assistance. I've long maintained that there was plenty of money to fund such benefits, especially as the salaries for coaches and administrators skyrocketed in recent years. The only people in the system that didn't benefit fully were the athletes themselves.
I'm fully aware of the benefits of a college education, but when you're 18, working your tail off to play a sport and without any walking around money, it's a hard sell to tell them to look to the future. With strict guidelines against employment, the NCAA appeared to me to be unfairly penalizing the less fortunate of the scholarship athletes and creating a two-tier system where some kids had plenty and others had very little, except of course that scholarship. If you're Andrew Luck or Peyton Manning, the full cost of attendance probably doesn't mean a lot. But for everyone of those, there are perhaps 50 that fall into an entirely different category. Hopefully shoplifting and other petty crimes, such as computer theft, will decrease among scholarship athletes.
Even though I'm sports fan, blogger and author, I believe there is a lot of money that is flowing into the sport that could be better used elsewhere. I have a hard time believing that Nick Saban or Urban Meyer would refuse to coach if salaries were in even the $2 - 3 million range for the top people on the sidelines. I would like to see continued research into safer helmets in football, more discussion of the negative ramifications of the one and done rule in basketball and of course continued emphasis on graduation rates. The latter is particularly important, especially if the argument for not paying players more is that the scholarship is worth so much. But it only has that value if the student-athlete actually gets their degree.
Don't forget to check out my new book, "Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel" at Amazon.com.