The Big 10 kicked it around a few weeks ago, Conference USA has made a statement regarding the issue and now the Big 12 powers that be are bringing up the idea this week in Kansas City. Pay for play...sort of. We're a far cry from college athletes being paid at this point but it does seem that there is a growing movement to share the wealth.
The compromise or middle ground between pay for play and fairly compensating is the notion of "full cost of attendance". Obviously that means a scholarship is going beyond tuition etc. and will now include those other odds and ends that come with attending a University. But who gets it, how much do they get and how is it funded are the major questions.
SI.com has an article covering the topic from the Big 12 meetings and brings up some of the discussion points being kicked around. The first and most obvious is who should be on the receiving end.
Many believe the extra money should go strictly to football and men's basketball players since they're the only ones on just about every campus who actually bring in more money than they cost. But would women's coaches stand for that? Or others in traditional non-revenue sports?
I think it's a very fair question because there are two sports where the players generate revenue. Those are the players many feel deserve further compensation. Free college should be good enough for a cross country athlete but isn't enough for someone like Tim Tebow who generates millions right?
The next question is the feasibility. How many institutions could even entertain the idea or have the funding to do so out of the athletic budget.
"The reality of being able to do it, it's hard. Maybe 10 percent of athletic budgets are in the black. So if you go cost of living, that's another, let's say million dollars, that's got to come from somewhere. Probably got to come from the academic side. It's not a good time to take money from the academic side for athletes. The reality of making it happen, I think, is pretty hard to figure."
-Texas AD DeLoss Dodds
That's the problem. There are a select number of schools that could pull this funding from an athletic budget at the school level, where do the rest pull the money? And then there is the question of how much it really is which if you take Dodds word for it, it's a HUGE amount.
Dodds, who estimates it would cost the Longhorns about $1 million to take every scholarship to full cost of attendance, scoffs at the idea that it would hold down the sort of scandals which cost Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel his job this week.
$1 Million? Good luck.
The dialogue continues and it's an interesting discussion that is starting to take place more and more across the country. To some extent it's tough to say if it's lip service or legitimate discussion, but either way it's the first time in my lifetime that I can recall this amount of public commenting in support of such a movement coming from those representing both the conferences and Universities involved.