College Hoops "Roundtable": Thoughts on the New Scholarship Model

November 4th, 2011

The first two questions in our college hoops "roundtable", where I ask some college basketball writers what their thoughts are on some of the hot topics in the game, centered around conference realignment and the new recruiting rules. This question tackles the concept of the new scholarship model, with the NCAA moving to add up to $2,000 to the value of full scholarships at the discretion of each conference. The governing body has also opened the door for multi-year scholarships, with the current being a one-year renewable setup. The Sun Belt and Metro Atlantic conferences have already said that they will abide by the new rule, and more leagues may fall in line in the near future. Here are some thoughts on the change.

Question: What are your thoughts on the initiative to raise the value of a full scholarship (adding up to $2,000 to help reach the total cost of attendance)?

Peter Robert Casey, Five-Star Basketball
Great. It should probably be more. $2,000 helps defray the rising costs of uncovered living expenses. When you accept a college scholarship, you work your butt off. Make no mistake. A full ride should be a full ride.

Rob Dauster, Ballin' is a Habit
Meh. Its a start. Its a step in the right direction. But $2,000 in a year? Think about how much you spend a year on gas. And all they get is $2,000 a year?

I think we should go to the Olympic model, personally, but whatever ends up happening, I think the players should end up getting more. But given Mark Emmert's stance against giving the players anything as recently as a year ago, I think $2,000 is a good sign.

Brian Ewart,
I tend to be in favor of it. Power conferences will clearly be going toward that model, while poorer conferences might not, but will that really change the dynamic much? $2,000 isn't really enough money to live like you're in a rap video. Elite recruits will still go to elite programs, but now at least they will get to share in the wealth a little bit.

Troy Machir, Ballin' is a Habit
I don't think players should be paid. Period.

Sure, $2,000 sounds nice now, but wait ten years. I am certain they will start asking for more. Let's say they don't get paid, just a free scholarship like in the past. Guess what, they still get free swag, they still get thousands upon thousands of students and fans bowing at their feet. For four years, they get free room-and-board, a free education, and a celebrity status. After that, then they can get the money, but let's not mix it in to college. it's supposed to be a learning experience. It's suppose to be a place that prepares you for the real world. However, I do believe that the players should be able to market themselves in order to make money. If I guy wants to make money off his likeness by hosting events in the off-season, let him do it.

Ray Mernagh, NBE Sports
I like the $2,000 but if some Low and Mid-Major leagues can do it and others can't it's going to create a problem for those coaches. The high majors should get the 2K IMHO and then some.

Jon Pence,
The $2,000 stipend is a starting point to paying athletes, but it widens the gap from the haves and have nots. Depending on a school's budget, the school may or may not be able to afford the $2,000 amount and it is by no means a requirement. Take for example a recruit deciding between Iowa and Northern Iowa. Iowa might be able to offer the player the extra $2,000 while a smaller budgeted Northern Iowa cannot. Will we see a shift away from the success of mid-major programs due to this change? Possibly.

Jon Teitel,
Hate it. If the president of the student council and the tuba player in the school band have to pay to do their own laundry, then the star PG should as well. I understand if a homesick player wants to go home to see his mother, but if you go to college 3,000 miles away from home (as I did) then you cannot always get what you want. I have heard numerous stories of players who drive around campus in sports cars and rarely go to class, and if you give them $2,000 and hope that they spend it in a correct manner then you are pushing them down a very slippery slope. Someone is already paying for your room, board, tuition and books. In the words of Jack Nicholson from the movie A Few Good Men, "I would rather you just said ‘Thank you,' and went on your way"!

Ben Weixlmann, Heard This Blog
I think this is really a difficult rule to set in place for all NCAA schools. The schools in "Big Six" conferences can easily afford the hit to their already burgeoning revenue stream, but I worry about those schools that can't necessarily find room in their budgets. Then what happens? Do behind-the-scenes staff members get fired to cut expenses? It'll be interesting to see.

My Thoughts
Personally I like the move to attempt to bridge the gap between the value of the scholarship and the total cost of attendance. If you're going to refer to the scholarship as a "full scholarship" shouldn't it be such? What's been interesting in this new initiative is that the first two conferences to say they'd follow the model were the...Sun Belt and the MAAC, and neither of those leagues is pulling in the money that BCS AQ conferences bring in (the Sun Belt does have the advantage of bowl revenues and money for being a part of the BCS). I know many have asked about the "non-revenue" sports and whether or not they should be compensated. My answer: no. If the NCAA wants to use revenue sports to finance the base scholarship for the other sports OK, but the extras? Not on board with that.

Next question: Removing North Carolina/Kentucky, what's one game (conference or non-conference) that you're looking forward to watching this season?