Following a change in the NCAA’s spending allowances, at least 15 college athletics programs nationwide will offer more than $4,000 worth of additional financial aid to athletes this fall, according to a recent report in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
In January, the NCAA approved a measure to allow Division I schools to finance their athletes’ entire costs of attendance, not merely the housing, books, tuition and fees that previous allowances had covered. Proponents of this new allowance say it will help athletes cover cellphone bills and travel expenses.
The spending changes will reflect the cost-of-attendance reports that schools present to the federal government. Schools that currently underreport costs must decide whether to publish a higher, more accurate number, which would allow them to offer more aid to athletes but potentially deter their other applicants.
Among Big Ten schools, Pennsylvania State University is sponsoring the biggest increase, offering players up to $4,788 worth of additional financial aid. The University of Minnesota will see a comparatively low $2,194 increase.
We are unenthusiastic about the NCAA’s new regulations for two primary reasons. First, they favor large public universities by allowing them to offer more money to athletes and exacerbate the talent gap between larger and smaller schools.
Second, we believe the previous allowance for athletics scholarships was sufficient to cover athletes’ costs. There are better places where schools could spend this extra aid money — just because they can offer it now doesn’t mean they should.