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Games and changes

We don't talk about college sports very often on the blog, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't. The subject of paying student-athletes is very fast moving, and can quickly move out beyond where you thought it was, as this Macon Telegraph article makes clear:

The reason that Daley and other recruits could have this to consider is because of the cost-of-attendance issue. Schools will be allowed, starting in the upcoming school year, to pay athletes the stipend for the so-called cost of attendance, as calculated by their respective financial aid offices.

But the fact it varies from school to school is creating plenty of worry about potential recruiting advantages.

“It’s a massive issue,” Georgia men’s basketball head coach Mark Fox said. “Obviously the coaches are going to talk about it. The (athletics directors) are going to talk about it. The presidents are talking about it. So it’s at that level of leadership, and hopefully ADs can come to a decision, and presidents.

“It’s a game-changing issue.”

Essentially, cost-of-attendance is a way for major schools to provide stipends to athletes without calling it an outright payment for services. It’s a reaction to several court rulings against the NCAA, including the Ed O’Bannon case, which have challenged whether college athletics are really amateur. The athletes bring in so much money, they should get a cut, lawyers have argued, and courts have agreed.

But not every school has the resources to provide stipends. So last year, the NCAA gave autonomy to the so-called power five conferences (SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12) to make their own rules. The schools have moved to do so for this coming school year.

What's interesting, and as this very astute young man is quoted as saying, is that after the issue of stipends becomes (more) settled, everything about continuing to make the university attractive to recruits will remain vital. The academics, the campus, the faculty, and the post-graduate opportunities will all still play important roles in these recruitment decisions. Better to come to some kind of morally defensible position on the compensation of players, so these issues can return to the fore where they belong.




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