Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany told reporters Tuesday in Chicago league officials discussed ways to provide financial aid beyond scholarships.
Delany’s talking points were unprompted and part of his opening statements. If there’s followthrough, his statements are truly revolutionary in collegiate athletics.
Here are Delany’s full remarks regarding that topic in Chicago:
“Are we doing everything we can on behalf of the student-athlete? Are we doing everything we can to put our athletes, our coaches, our teams, our programs into a collegiate model that works athletically, that works academically, that works in fairness to the athletes? What is the collegiate model? It’s one-third competition, one-third entertainment, one-third education. In a lot of cases guys and ladies made the point that 40 years ago you had the scholarship and $15 a month laundry money and today you have the same scholarship but not the $15 a month laundry money. So the question is, can we ever get to the cost of education that was discussed at some length?
“Basically how can we get back to the collegiate model in a regulatory system that’s based more on student-athlete welfare than it is on level playing field, where everything is about a cost issue and whether or not everybody can afford to do everything everybody could do.
“We had a good open discussion on that issue.
“We talked a little about multi-year grants rather than one-year grants for athletes. We talked a little bit about how we can be more supportive of the athlete. There’s a long way between the talk and the action, but I think we would love to have discussions with other conferences that relate to, are we doing everything we should on behalf of the student athlete welfare? Are we able to re-establish to a great extent the collegiate model that performs, not only competitively, but also educationally in a new, balanced way.
“The NCAA Constitution actually allows for awards up to the cost of education, which is a federal number that includes room, board, fees, tuition plus miscellaneous expenses and transportation. We only provide room, board fees and tuition. Why? Because we have a lot of people on scholarship. Scholarship costs have probably gone from $30 million when I first got here to probably $130 million. The difference in the cost of the scholarship and the full cost of education is anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000. At some schools it’s higher, at some schools it’s lower. But we were just talking about is there any way we can ever have that discussion because a lot of times students that don’t come from means don’t have the support, but it’s also an expensive proposition. We have 9,500 athletes. They’re not all on full scholarship, but tuition continues to rise at more than the rate of inflation so if you’ve got kids in college, you know what I’m talking about.
“It’s not a simple proposition but there was a general proposition about how do we get this back closer to the collegiate model, something that’s more sustainable, something that’s more sensitive to student-athlete welfare, and not as much driven by, can everybody afford everything? Because there are some conferences and some institutions that have higher resources than others. I don’t know if there would be any interest around the country for that.”
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