No full ride

NCAA caps scholarship levels

J. Fred Fox | reporter

The vast majority of athletics spending goes toward student-athlete scholarships: A whopping $1.7 million out of the $2.3 million dollar budget.
However, the NCAA caps scholarship levels for Division II. No more than the equivalent of 36 full-ride scholarships can be spent on football student-athletes.
A full-ride scholarship pays all academic, housing and meal expenses and includes a $400 book stipend.
However, no athlete at Pitt State receives a full ride. Also, PSU only paid out enough scholarship money to account for 32.64 of the limit last year.
As a part of the process of distributing scholarships, there are transfer students, graduates and players leaving the team, says Jim Johnson, director of athletics.
“Running is a job that’s also fun,” said Bridgette McCormick, a sophomore member of the cross-country team in nursing. “A few of my teammates can work off-campus, some on-campus a couple days a week.”
Scholarships are an essential aspect of intercollegiate athletics, because they are a large part of recruiting and providing for athletes who make a substantial time commitment to their sport, Johnson says.
Some athletes spend upward of 20 hours a week just for practices, not including games and the average 15 or more academic credit hours they take.
“Athletes at Pitt State are basically employees of the college,” said Erica Testa, junior in elementary education and a member of the cross country and track teams. “We get paid hardly at all in the grand scheme of things. Our scholarships are a minuscule price for what PSU earns in the long run.”
Intercollegiate athletics is a huge part of the school’s name recognition. Athletes represent the university at conference and national levels.
They’re like ambassadors for PSU outside the school, says Russ Jewett, cross country head coach.
“Scholarships are a recruiting tool, even if it’s only $500-$1,000,” Jewett said. “We can give out about the equivalent of about nine full-scholarships but we’re dollar driven: We struggle to get student-athletes outside of the in-state tuition benefit.”
Jewett explained how scholarships are based on athletic ability. Many athletes have to walk-on and earn a scholarship based on their athletic performance.
“Not all athletes get a scholarship and nobody gets a full ride,” said Sam Pugh, sophomore member of the basketball team in management and marketing. “The NCAA doesn’t really allow me to have another form of income other than my scholarship.”
Johnson also made clear that a common misconception is that athletics received a large bonus for winning the national championship in football last year.
However, the NCAA received all profits of PSU hosting post-season games and PSU doesn’t receive any bonus, aside from a trophy, for winning the national championship. However, private giving did spike as a result of that football season.
“The 2013 football season, we expect to spend about $60,000 because of six overnight road games as compared to about $40,000 spent this last year,” Johnson said. “Conference expansion is causing chaos with planning and scheduling.”
Johnson also faces a substantial dip in income for the 2014 football season when scheduling doesn’t include an Arrowhead Stadium game due to conference changes with the addition of new teams into the MIAA.
“Lamar Hunt, the former Chiefs owner, had the idea to host games for Pitt State and also the KU/MU games,” Johnson said. “It provides pluses and minuses. It takes away a home game but helps recruiting, band and cheer.”
With Hunt no longer the owner of the Chiefs, it’s unclear Pitt State will still play Northwest Missouri State University at Arrowhead.
Attendance has been over 15,000 while Carnie Smith Stadium can only hold 10,000; NW Missouri can hold even less.
The game usually nets a boost of $50,000 to PSU.

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