U funds players’ tuition, housing

Donations and tickets funded $7.5 million in athletics scholarships for the 2003-04 year.

by Molly Moker

Junior women’s basketball player Janel McCarville said she spends 20 hours per week practicing during the season and at least eight hours during the offseason.

Balancing basketball with classes and homework, McCarville said she has no time for a job. But thanks to her athletics scholarship, paying for rent, tuition, books and food has never been a problem.

McCarville is one of 460 University students who receive athletics scholarships.

“Personally, I wouldn’t be able to go to college if I didn’t have a scholarship,” she said. “Basketball itself is a full-time job.”

The University provided 207 full scholarships and 253 partial scholarships for the 2003-04 school year, Athletics Compliance Department Director Frank Kara said.

Full scholarships for in-state students are approximately $14,000 a year and out-of-state scholarships are approximately $25,000 per year, he said.

Kara said the NCAA determines how many scholarships teams can award based on team size and gender. Coaches decide which players receive the scholarships.

Senior Associate Athletics Director Elizabeth Eull said athletics scholarships for 2003-04 totaled $7.5 million. This includes summer session and fifth-year support.

Private donations and ticket revenue fund all athletics scholarships, Eull said.

Covering expenses

Scholarships can be full or partial, depending on the team, Kara said.

A full scholarship includes housing, food, tuition, required fees and books. Partial scholarships often help student-athletes pay for tuition and fees.

Except for football, volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s gymnastics and women’s tennis, all teams are allowed to break up their scholarships. The NCAA sets these limits.

The men’s hockey team splits its 18 full scholarships among 25 players, and the women’s team spreads its 18 among 20 players, Kara said.

The scholarships range from $100 to a full ride, he said.

For athletes living on campus, housing and meal plans are taken care of, Kara said.

Kara said the University does not require athletes to live together or on campus, but many choose to. He said the University tries to give on-campus student-athletes the best arrangements possible.

For athletes who choose to live off campus, he said, the University averages the prices of all residence hall rooms together and gives the weighted amount to the athletes. The average comes to $2,020 per semester, or $505 a month.

If athletes find a place off campus for less than $505 per month, Kara said, they are allowed to keep the extra money.

Off-campus athletes also receive $1,229 each semester to spend on food. The money does not have to be spent on food, and Kara said there is no way to regulate how it is spent.

Athletes living on campus do not receive a check, but all living expenses are taken care of.

University senior Wade Hokenson has played basketball for four years without receiving any scholarship money.

Because he is an athlete, Hokenson said, he does not have time for a job and has had to take out $20,000 in loans.

Hokenson said he thinks it is fair that he does not receive scholarship money, although it has been a burden. He said he has never considered not playing because he does not receive a scholarship.

Who gets what?

In general, Kara said, scholarships are based on athletic talent.

“It’s about 60 percent athletic ability, 25 percent academics – like if they could get into the University – and 15 percent character, and how well they’d get along on a team,” Kara said.

The men’s basketball team had 12 scholarships to use this year, and used 11 of them among 16 players, assistant coach Bill Walker said.

Next year, Walker said, the team will be back up to 13 scholarships after having a reduced amount because of the academic scandal.

So far, six of the seven returning players and five new recruits will receive scholarships.

Under new NCAA regulations, the basketball team will have two more scholarships to work with next year.

If the scholarships are given, Walker said, they will most likely go to new players.

Jordan Nuness, who was a walk-on for the team this year, did not receive a scholarship and will not next year. He said he does not think it is unfair that he will not have a scholarship next year, even though he could be the only player on the team not to have one.

Because he does not have a scholarship, Nuness said, he has to work part time during the offseason.

The women’s basketball team has 15 scholarships to use, but coach Pam Borton said 12 were used this year for the 14-player team.

Next year, she said, 13 players will have scholarships.

The volleyball team has 12 full scholarships to work with, but coach Mike Hebert said he used 11 last season.

There are many reasons to not use every scholarship, including saving some for future years to aid in recruiting, he said.

Hebert said he prefers giving full scholarships to partial ones.

“It’s much cleaner to be a head-count sport, because you know you can always offer a full ride,” Hebert said. “There are no calculations that have to take place.”