By Will Vandervort.
Last weekend, the world of collegiate athletics as we have all known it to be has changed. Now the question is has it changed for the better?
That depends on who you ask.
The Power 5 Conferences—the ACC, SEC, Big 10, Pac 12 and the Big 12—were granted autonomy by the NCAA this past fall and with this new power last weekend in Washington, D.C., they passed legislation that will supplement student athletes scholarships.
Full-cost of attendance, as it is called, passed on a 79-1 vote and according to an article on ESPN.com, stipends, determined by institutions under federally created guidelines, have been estimated at $2,000 to $4,000 annually. This money is expected to help pay for some cost-of-living expenses that are separate from athletic scholarships.
So what does this mean for Clemson and its competitors? No one is completely sure at this point in the game, but Clemson associate athletic director for business finance and facilities, Graham Neff, confirmed to The Clemson Insider Thursday morning that the athletic department will have to spend roughly $800,000 a year for this extra expense.
Neff started comprising a plan of action at Clemson once the NCAA supplied the Power 5 Conferences autonomy.
Clemson Football and men’s basketball players, known as the head-count sports, will be paid $3,608 a year, while the others, or the non-head-count sports, which includes baseball, will receive amounts that are proportional to the terms of their scholarships.
“For sports that don’t involve full scholarships, the non-head-count sports, the equivalency sports, there are a few proposals involved on how they are going to enact this change on those sports, but a generality will be that your percentage of a scholarship will be a greater number now,” said Patrick Andrews, who is a pitcher for the Clemson baseball team. “So your 25 percent will be 25 percent of a greater number now. That is kind of a very general overview of it. There are some administrative details that are getting worked out through the whole process.”
Andrews said baseball players will likely receive about $1,800 as a non-head-count sport.
Andrews was one of three student-athletes from the ACC and the 15 overall from the Power 5 Conference that participated and voted on the legislation that was passed at the NCAA convention last weekend. He says he understands the breakdown on why head-count sports will receive twice as much stipend as the non-head count sports because it puts too much financial pressure on a university.
“The breakdown is always changing,” he said. “Like a lot of this autonomy stuff, what we currently have right now is the breakdown for baseball with 27 athletes allowed on scholarship with a minimum of 25 percent, but 10 years from now there is no saying what that breakdown could be.
“Right now that is the current situation we have. It could go up, it could go down, things could change drastically so we just kind of know where we stand and that is the playing field we are on. Every team we play has those same requirements.”
ACC Commissioner John Swofford said the full-cost of attendance being passed was critical.
“It’s one afternoon, but it’s really been the last two years that a lot of this has been vetted and discussed,” he said to ESPN. “Full cost of attendance was critical. It had to pass. It was a part of modernizing the collegiate model.”
It’s a model that will affect young men and young women, like Patrick Andrews, in collegiate athletics for years to come.
“I believe within the Power 5 Conferences, between the conferences and between the schools in the conference that there will be an even playing field for everybody,” Andrews said. “The administrators and a lot of people behind the scenes on this are working extremely hard and are putting in a lot of hours to make sure this is a change for the better.”