When college sports’ “power five” conferences passed autonomous legislation in January, it didn’t take long for the implications to become real for the remainder of the NCAA’s Division I leagues.
“Cost of attendance,” a key component of the autonomy package voted on by the ACC, SEC, Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-10, is also being implemented in varying degrees by other leagues now, including Conference USA and the Atlantic 10.
“It’s something we’ve been talking about for a long time,” said Davidson athletics director Jim Murphy. “And we don’t mind spending the money on our athletes. But we’ll have to watch if in reality this is creating recruiting advantage for some schools and conferences. We might then realize this isn’t the best way to go about it.”
Davidson is following A-10 guidelines by offering cost of attendance to men’s and women’s basketball players only (the league doesn’t sponsor football and Davidson’s program is non-scholarship). Murphy said each basketball player will receive about $1,800 to supplement a scholarship that’s worth about $60,000 per year.
Charlotte athletics director Judy Rose said the 49ers will take an incremental step of $1,000 per full scholarship for the 2015-16 season, then move up to an average of about $2,300 for full cost of attendance beginning in 2016-17.
At Charlotte and other schools, there are two kinds of scholarship categories: head count and equivalency. “Head count” sports, such as football and men’s and women’s basketball, provide one full scholarship per player. Equivalency sports, such as men’s and women’s soccer and baseball, have a certain number of scholarships to divide partially among their players.
“So our number is a moving target because every sport will probably be calculated differently,” Rose said.
Rose said cost of attendance will add about $500,000 to the athletics department budget eventually, with much of that money coming from funds it receives from Conference USA.
The Big South also recently adopted cost-of-attendance requirements for men’s and women’s basketball. Liberty has taken that further and will provide cost of attendance in all sports. Other Big South schools, such as Gardner-Webb and Winthrop, will stick with basketball only.
The Sun Belt is allowing its members to come up with their own cost-of-attendance guidelines. Appalachian State expects to have a policy established later this summer. The Southern Conference is also leaving the decision up to its members.
▪ Due largely to a recent hazing incident on the baseball team, Rose said the 49ers are working with the Cary-based Janssen Sports Leadership Center to help Charlotte athletes with their leadership skills.
“We are looking at all our teams, at team chemistry, at team captains, across the board,” said Rose. “Our coaches said we don’t have strong leadership. When the student-athletes come to us, they don’t know how to be strong leaders. So we need to know how to develop them.”
Rose said the school’s investigation into the hazing incident is still ongoing. Five players were dismissed from the team in December.
▪ Rose said it’s unlikely swimming will be one of the women’s sports added to the 49ers’ athletics department as it gradually satisfies football-induced federal Title IX requirements.
Building a new pool would cost about $1.5 million, Rose said.
“That would be tough to do,” she said.
A women’s golf team will begin play in 2016-17. Sand volleyball will likely be the second new sport added.
Rose said there is no hard deadline for the new sports to be added, but the school must show that it is working toward that goal over a 10-year period.
▪ Johnson C. Smith’s Johanen Edmeade will play on the U.S. Virgin Islands golf team this summer. He will play in the World University Games June 30-July 14 in South Korea and the Caribbean Amateur Championships in Jamaica in late July.
Edmeade helped the Golden Bulls to a fourth-place tie in the CIAA championships in May.