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Upping Scholarship Values Still A Hot Topic

If you’re just covering one team at SEC Media Days, you don’t have to worry about getting tired of hearing a question asked over and over.  You hear it once and then another topic pops up.

But when you do what we do — cover all 12 schools at Media Days — then you’re guaranteed of growing tired of hearing one or two writers ask each of the league’s coaches the exact same question.

This week, you can bet that someone will want to write about the idea of paying players.  That writer will no doubt ask the same question in the same way to all 12 SEC coaches.

As a result, you’ll read right here what all 12 coaches have to say on the matter.  And that topic, by the way, is back in the news today.

Josh Kendall of The State in Columbia, South Carolina tackles it here.  ESPN.com’s Chris Low does the same here.

Low points out that SEC commissioner Mike Slive has said he supports the idea of “paying for an athlete’s full cost of attendance, which over and above tuition, room and board, books and university fees would also pay for reasonable personal expenses as well as travel expenses when an athlete returns home to see family.”

That is not the same as paying players some type of mini-salary.  But as Kendall points out, a university’s full cost of attendance is: “a figure determined by its office of financial aid (that) includes not just tuition, fees, books, room and board but also the personal expenses a student incurs.”

See the problem?  The cost of attending one school is different than the cost of attending another.  Would it not be a recruiting advantage for UCLA or Southern Cal — for example — to be able to offer a greater sum of cash than say Auburn or Clemson?  Some 18-year-olds might start comparing dollar signs (and they’re unlikely to do many cost-of-living calculations).

Unless the NCAA simply tells all schools that they can pay — and we’re spitballing here — $2,500 per athlete over the value of the institution’s scholarships, we don’t see how a “pay increase” proposal can come to pass.

If cost of living becomes a factor, trust that some schools will bend the rules in their favor.  If each league is allowed to create its own level of pay, count on the haves (SEC, Big Ten, etc) further separating themselves from the have-nots (WAC, Sun Belt, MAC, etc).

At SEC Media Days there will be quite a bit of talk about this subject.  But for now, that’s all it is — just a lot of talk.

 


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