Students, coaches debate student athlete stipend

Zach Wagner | Collegio Reporter

Every year colleges offer scholarships to student-athletes and in turn colleges rake in millions from sports. But do these student-athletes benefit enough from scholarships?
In October of last year, the NCAA Division I Board of Directors tried to answer that question by allowing Division I schools to offer stipends of up to $2,000 a year. According to the board of directors, the stipends’ intended purpose would be to cover any remaining expenses that a partial scholarship doesn’t take care of.
However, the proposal was met with an outcry from nearly 160 of Division I schools, whose presidents feared that these stipends would force schools to cut back on other needs, such as coaching staff. The outcry resulted in the board suspending the idea.
So what does the NCAA’s decision mean for Pitt State? Absolutely nothing, says Pittsburg State’s athletic director, Jim Johnson.
“The whole concept of offering stipends in the NCAA just pushes us closer to being considered a professional organization, which I think deters a good majority of the Division I schools from accepting a situation like this,” Johnson said. “Even if it did eventually pass, I think Division II schools wouldn’t agree upon this proposal.”
Though chances seem slim that stipends could ever be offered in Division II athletics, one Pitt State coach sees some merit in the idea. Assistant football coach and PSU record-setting former quarterback Neal Philpot expresses a more favorable view of the stipend idea.
“Even though it’s unlikely, I think some student-athletes definitely deserve it,” Philpot said. “There’s definitely certain circumstances where athletes even on scholarships would be near a tight budget.”
One of the main reasons for implementing stipends is something student athletes deal with: paying for expenses even after receiving scholarship money.
“Last year I had a bit of money troubles even after my scholarship went through,” said Graylon Sanders, senior football player in business management. “Since the stipends would only be given to those who need it, there’d be fewer student-athletes who struggle to get by, and athletes would probably be more motivated.”
Another student athlete says he hopes the stipend idea gets the NCAA OK.
“You quickly realize how much time limits your life,” said Ryan Reddick, junior baseball player in physical education. “Your only other option to make extra money is to go work on breaks, which from that you can only make so much.”
Currently the stipends offer is still on the table for Division I schools only and is to be voted on in April. If it passes, the stipends would not go into effect until the 2013-2014 season.
Sophomore Austin Riggs, undeclared major and member of the track team, says that what athletes put into college sports is what they are going to get out of it.
“I don’t think that necessarily there are some significant issues with the system. We treat sports like a job,” Riggs said. “We get our scholarship money based on how well we perform. It is a bit unrealistic that more money will come our way just like that.
“I definitely wouldn’t mind it, though.”

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