Thursday, June 2, 2011
Big 12 to debate B1G's scholarship plan
By Adam Rittenberg
The Big Ten's proposal to restructure full scholarships for athletes has made its way onto the radar for several other leagues, including the Big 12.
Whether or not to increase the value of scholarships is a topic that will be debated this week at the Big 12's spring meetings in Kansas City. Not surprisingly, there are some different viewpoints.
The Big Ten proposed last month that scholarships be restructured to reach the full cost of attendance, which would allocate additional funds (estimated at $2,000-$5,000 per full scholarship) to student-athletes. This would apply to all athletes on full scholarships, regardless of their sport.
"Cost of attendance comes with all sorts of complications," Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe said Wednesday. "The cost of attendance will vary at certain institutions. If it's $5,000 here and $2,000 there, how does that get into recruiting?"
Beebe brings up an interesting point. The varying cost of attendance figures, which are federally regulated, will lead to discrepancies.
There are also the different revenue-sharing models between leagues. The Big Ten, for instance, shares all of its revenue equally among its members. The Big 12 does not. Just ask Nebraska how that feels.
I'm not surprised to see that Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds is in favor of the Big Ten's plan. Texas, after all, is one of the nation's largest and richest athletic departments.
But Dodds acknowledges all schools aren't in the same boat.
"The Big Ten would be for it because they've got the Big Ten Network. They've got dollars," Dodds said. "But probably 80 percent of institutions would have to go to the academic side to get the money. You have to vote something like this in, and I don't see how you'd get the votes."
We'll see where this topic goes, but it's interesting to see how other leagues view the Big Ten's proposal.
One Big Ten assistant coach wants to keep the scholarship structure the way it is. Penn State quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno makes a pretty convincing case in his weekly column that student-athletes already get a pretty good deal.
No one sells the student-athletes on the idea that they are getting paid more than $80 an hour for a part-time job. No one tells the student-athlete to go talk to other students on campus who work 30 or 40 hours some weeks and will still owe tens of thousands of dollars when they graduate.
It is all about perspective. The reality is that a few hundred more dollars or even a few thousand dollars to help cover the cost of attendance isn't going to erase the cheating that goes on. The cheating that's going on is for a lot more money than the cost of attendance.
The problem is what society sells to big-time athletes and their families. Society sells lights, camera, the NFL or NBA. Those are sexy products. What isn't being sold is education, studying and a chance to enrich the mind and get rich in the classroom.
Some really good points from JayPa.
What are your thoughts?