There was no big mystery about what would happen when the first autonomous legislation passed at the NCAA convention over the weekend.
Full cost-of-attendance was first on the docket, and it easily passed. But it was not a unanimous vote. One school voted against adding the stipend: Boston College.
Rather than go with the flock, the university decided to take a stand, worried that the increased financial burdens to athletic departments everywhere could mean devastating consequences for non-revenue sports. In a statement released Saturday night, the university said:
Boston College is concerned with continuing to pass legislation that increases expenses when the vast majority of schools are already institutionally subsidized. The consequence of such legislation could ultimately hurt student-athletes if/when programs are cut.
This legislation further segregates student-athletes from the general student population by increasing aid without need-based consideration. Legislation already exists for student-athletes in need through pell grants and the student-assistance fund.
We have concerns that the Federal Financial aid formula is sufficiently ambiguous that adjustments for recruiting advantage will take place.
Indeed, this is one of the many unanswered questions that remain now that autonomy is here: How will many cash-strapped athletic departments begin to pay for all the bells and whistles only the few can afford, simply because they want to keep pace? Everybody can agree that cost of attendance is a worthy cause, but nobody really has any idea what the financial consequences will be down the road.
A student-athlete at Boston College receives a roughly $250,000 education in four years' time, higher than most schools this legislation will impact. As colleague Mitch Sherman points out:
Boston is an expensive place to attend school, equating to a stipend for student-athletes at BC that will exceed the still-undetermined average. Without a football program awash in money, Boston College must dig deep to keep pace with its rivals -- or consider other ways to save money, perhaps including the elimination of non-revenue sports.
Now there exists a potential consequence to autonomy that fails to mesh with the mission of the NCAA. And if it's a problem at Boston College, which gets a piece of the ACC pie, imagine the trouble brewing at smaller colleges.
It was a big recruiting weekend across college football. Here are a few updates in the ACC:
Four-star defensive back Mark Fields II says he enjoyed his visit to Clemson. Next stop: Texas.
Georgia Tech picked up a commitment from cornerback Dorian Walker and also flipped safety David Curry from UVa.
Good inside look at what makes Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher such a good recruiter.
Fisher is stockpiling another top-rated class.
Syracuse commit Keivonnis Davis is being recruited by former Orange assistant George McDonald, now at NC State.
In other ACC news:
Several ACC players stood out at the East-West Shrine Game, including former Miami defensive end Anthony Chickillo, Louisville running back Dominique Brown and offensive lineman John Miller and NC State kicker Niklas Sade.
Senior Bowl practices get underway this week, and Shaq Mason and T.J. Clemmings are two players to watch. Meanwhile, Tre' Jackson appears to be the only Florida State player who will participate in the Senior Bowl after Rashad Greene, Nick O'Leary, Cameron Erving and Josue Matias all dropped out.
Sam Werner of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette takes a look at the legacy former athletic director Steve Pederson leaves behind.