All posts by Kristi Dosh

New stipends put spotlight on colleges’ math


The start of a new school year ushers in a new financial reality for college athletic departments and, with it, questions about the hot new statistic in college sports: cost of attendance, or COA.

Schools use cost of attendance to determine a student’s need for financial aid, and federal law dictates the types of expenses that can be taken into account when a financial aid department determines its COA figure for the academic year. Athletic departments have traditionally provided grants-in-aid to cover a majority of COA components — tuition, books, room and board — but NCAA rules have prohibited them from covering travel/transportation and personal and miscellaneous expenses.

In January, however, the power five conferences — the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC — granted the ability to offer student athletes stipends to cover the full cost of attendance, and the other Division I football conferences followed suit.

And that’s where the questions come in. The methods that financial aid offices use to determine figures for travel and personal expenses differ from school to school. Different methods mean some schools offer larger stipends than others, creating a new point of differentiation in the hypercompetitive world of college athletics recruiting.

The change sparked a debate about whether the system could be manipulated to provide higher COAs, and the accompanying recruiting advantage, for some schools.

Click here to continue reading my piece in last week’s SportsBusiness Journal (no subscription required).

College Football’s Most Expensive Tickets for 2015

CFB Most Expensive Tix 2015With home games against Texas and USC, Notre Dame has the highest average ticket price at home this season at $332.09, according to ticket search engineTiqIQ. It’s the highest preseason average TiqIQ has recorded in the past five years.

Three of the five most expensive games right now will feature Notre Dame, two in South Bend. Notre Dame vs. Boston College at Fenway Park is averaging a whopping $919.90 per ticket. Texas at Notre Dame comes in second at $829.29, and USC at Notre Dame ranks fifth at $590.81.

Want to see the Top Five most expensive games this year and the Top 10 most expensive teams?

Click here to read my piece on Forbes.

Tailgater Concierge Makes Tailgating Easier For Fans

Tailgater ConciergeLast year, college football attendance at the FBS level topped 34.7 million fans over 787 games, an average of 44,190 fans per game. One of the advantages to attending a game in person is, of course, the opportunity to tailgate. If you’re anything like me, you try to find friends who are willing to schlep around the tables and chairs and tents and get there six hours before the game to claim a prime spot.

Personally, I enjoy the good food with good friends part of tailgating more than the setup and cleanup portion of the day. If you’re with me, you’ll appreciate the news today. This fall, a new service will launch at 18 universities that takes all of the hassle out of tailgating: Tailgater Concierge.

Click here to keep reading my piece on Forbes.

NLRB Dismisses Northwestern Unionization Petition

NorthwesternStudent athletes came the closest they’ve ever come to being classified as employees when Northwestern scholarship football student athletes petitioned the National Labor Relations Board in early 2014. That journey, however, came to an end today when the full NLRB panel in D.C. dismissed the petition.

Click here to keep reading on Outkick the Coverage on

New Collegiate Handbags from Vera Bradley and Dooney & Bourke

Vera Bradley collegiate merchandise
Vera Bradley’s new collegiate merchandise line

The latest brand to dip a toe into the collegiate merchandise market is Vera Bradley, which has created a line for 15 schools, each featuring five different options: a tote, a backpack, a duffel bag, a cross-body bag and a wristlet.

Dooney & Bourke entered the space last fall with 17 schools. The company’s early success led to 15 schools being added this fall.

To learn more about both lines, check out my piece on

Travel Stipends for NCAA Final Fours and College Football Playoff a Huge Success

NCAA and CFP Travel StipendsLast year, the NCAA did something unprecedented: they approved a pilot program to provide travel stipends to the parents or guardians of men’s and women’s basketball student athletes participating in the Final Four (up to $3,000 per student athlete) and National Championship (an additional $1,000 per student athlete).

The program also authorized the College Football Playoff to provide up to $3,000 per student athlete for the College Football Playoff National Championship, although the CFP ultimately adopted a $2,500 per student athlete stipend program.

Men’s and women’s basketball travel stipends

A month ago, the NCAA announced it would be extending the program for men’s and women’s basketball for a year, and then Tuesday the College Football Playoff followed suit and extended its program for another year.

Click here to keep reading my piece on Outkick the Coverage on

Four New College Football Teams Take the Field in 2015

Four New College Football Teams Take the Field in 2015UAB made big headlines last December when it announced the end of its football program (which has since been reinstated*). Everyone wondered – would this become a national trend?

Since the day UAB cut the program, I’ve been very outspoken about the fact that I think it was an isolated incident. I’ve spoken to athletic directors and presidents around the country, and no one believed any other school was seriously considering dropping football.

Need more convincing? The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame announced today that colleges and universities offering football is at an all-time high of 773 programs with four new teams taking the field this fall: East Tennessee State University and Kennesaw State University begin in the Football Championship Series, Finlandia University starts a Division III team, and Lyon College joins at the NAIA level.

Current tabulations have eight additional programs launching from 2016-2018, including UAB’s reinstated program. From 1978 to 2014, 179 football programs were added to colleges and universities across the country.

There’s an entire chapter in my book Saturday Millionaires: Why Winning Football Builds Winning Colleges about the benefits of a big-time college football program, from increased enrollment to free advertising for the university. Although my book focuses on programs at the FBS level, programs at other levels often experience some of the same benefits.

Finlandia University, for example, is launching seven new athletic programs over the next seven years in an attempt to increase its enrollment, which currently sits at just 485. The goal is to bring in 217 additional student athletes (70 for football alone), which would result in a whopping 44 percent increase in enrollment.

Finlandia’s current tuition is $21,610 annually (and there are no athletic scholarship at the Division III level), equating to a $4.7 million increase in revenue annually if there were 217 additional students (obviously not accounting for any discounted tuition rates or financial aid that might impact Finlandia’s bottom line).

What Finlandia is doing is nothing new. It’s a trend we’ve seen at quite a few smaller schools in recent years.

Included with the NFF’s press release was a great list showing all of the programs being added in the next few years, as well as a look back at additions made since 2008: Continue reading Four New College Football Teams Take the Field in 2015

Texas A&M Paying Tab for Ifedi’s Loss of Value Insurance

Schools pick up tab for insuranceLast year, Texas A&M discovered a new use of the Student Assistance Fund, a pool of money created out of revenue from the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and earmarked for student athletes with financial need. The fund has typically been used for expenses like trips home and clothing, but Texas A&M asked for a clarification last year regarding the insurance needs of student athletes and sparked a bit of a new trend when it spent $50,000-60,000 on a loss-of-value insurance policy for Cedric Ogbuehi.

Although disability insurance has been around for student athletes for quite some time, loss-of-value insurance is a newer phenomenon. Loss-of-value insurance pays out if a student athlete falls precipitously in the NFL draft due to an injury.

I wrote an in-depth piece for SportsBusiness Journal last year on this growing trend – which schools have purchased the policies, whether there’s any danger of depleting the SAF through the purchase of these policies and more – that you can read here (they’ve made it public, so you should be able to read even without a subscription).

Now Texas A&M is in the news again, with CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd reporting the Aggies have purchased a loss-of-value policy for redshirt junior offensive tackle Germain Ifedi.

There are few cases of these policies paying out for student athletes, although former USC student athlete Marquis Lee is currently embroiled in a legal battle with Lloyd’s of London over his policy and the injury that led him to drop in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Want to learn more about loss-of-value insurance and how the SAF has been used previously to purchase policies, please read my article for SportsBusiness Journal.

Comparing Apparel and Licensing Contracts in College Sports

Comparing Licensing Agreements in College AthleticsIf you follow college sports at all, you probably noticed Tennessee’s move from Adidas to Nike last week. Many of you would probably be surprised to learn the cash value of Tennessee’s new Nike deal is less than the cash received under its Adidas deal. Why, then, would Tennessee make the switch? Is the Vols brand trending downward?

It’s definitely not the latter. Tennessee was ranked #12 in the nation on Collegiate Licensing Company’s last set of rankings. CLC represents over 200 collegiate properties, including the vast majority of schools in the Power Five conferences (although Fermata Partners has made a splash in the marketplace over the past year with the addition of Kentucky, Georgia, Oregon, Miami and, most recently, Notre Dame). At the end of the 2012-2013 fiscal year, Tennessee ranked #15 on CLC’s list, so the brand has, in fact, not degraded.

Revenue = Cash + Product + Royalties

The answer to the Tennessee question really lies in the differences between Adidas and Nike and their contracts. Continue reading Comparing Apparel and Licensing Contracts in College Sports