Last 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.
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It came as no surprise that the Power Five conferences easily passed the cost of attendance measure being considered at the NCAA convention on Saturday. The final vote tally was 79-1 in favor of going to scholarships that cover the full cost of attendance, with 64 of the 65 schools and all 15 of the student athletes voting in favor of the proposal.
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If you’re not inclined to read my full report on the ruling in the O’Bannon case that came down on Friday, you can probably get away with simply knowing what it does not mean.
- It does not mean all student athletes are getting cost-of-attendance stipends. In fact, it doesn’t even mean all football and men’s basketball student athletes are getting cost-of-attendance stipends. What the ruling said was that the NCAA cannot set a rule limiting stipends to anything less than cost-of-attendance for football and men’s basketball student athletes. If I were a betting woman, I’d say the NCAA sets the limit for stipends at cost of attendance and allows all student athletes to receive that stipend. Some schools will be able to afford to implement the stipend, some will not. There is no requirement in the ruling that schools must starting funding cost of attendance stipends, merely that the NCAA cannot legislate against it.
- You’ve probably heard about the $5,000 tied to the trust fund idea. It does not mean every football and men’s basketball student athlete is automatically accruing $5,000 per year in a trust fund to access after graduation or exhaustion of eligibility. What the judge said was that the NCAA cannot prevent schools from offering at least $5,000 per year to football and men’s basketball student athletes (to be placed in a trust for disbursement upon graduation or exhaustion of eligibility). The NCAA will likely set the cap at the minimum $5,000/student athlete/year. Each individual school can then decide if they want to participate, but they are not required to do so. One school might decide on the $5,000 number, another might only be able to do $2,500, and yet another might decide they cannot afford to do anything. Whatever the schools choose, they must implement it equally across a recruiting class. You can’t offer higher-profile recruits more than other recruits. You can, however, change the amount with each new recruiting class.
- Sadly, it does not mean the NCAA Football video game is coming back. The judge did not rule that football and men’s basketball players could pursue individual commercial sponsorship or endorsement deals. In other words, they can’t sign on their own with EA Sports or Nike or Gatorade or anyone else. The ruling simply forces the NCAA to allow schools to share some licensing revenue with student athletes under the two very limited circumstances explained above. Is still means schools will have to decide to license with EA Sports or other video game producers in order for the games to come back. Student athletes cannot join together and go license their name, image and likeness to create video games, at least not under this ruling.
One of the most complicated parts of the O’Bannon ruling against the NCAA stems from the fact that Judge Wilken did not have to take Title IX into account when she ordered stipends and trust funds for football and men’s basketball student athletes.
I am not a Title IX scholar or expert, but I did interview about a half dozen of them when I was writing Saturday Millionaires for the chapter on pay-for-play. One big misconception I’m seeing from fans on Twitter this morning is that Title IX only covers equal opportunities for female student athletes. That is not the entire story. Most of you are familiar with what we call the “three-prong test” for Title IX, which does focus on opportunities. However, the three-prong test is just one of three parts of a full Title IX analysis.
The issues I see with the O’Bannon ruling and Title IX come in the second part about athletically-related financial aid and in the third part (the laundry list) where publicity and recruitment are factors.
Would a court consider the new stipend and trust fund for football and men’s basketball players “athletically-related financial aid”? Does it matter that football and men’s basketball players are publicized in more high-profile ways than female student athletes? What about the fact that the new trust fund will be associated with recruitment? Those are questions that will have to be answered.
I want to give you some excerpts from Saturday Millionaires where I explained the three parts of Title IX analysis to highlight where the O’Bannon ruling might be at odds with Title IX. Continue reading Are O’Bannon Ruling and Title IX at Odds?
A federal judge ruled against the NCAA on Friday on the O’Bannon case, which deal with student athletes’ inability to be compensated for use of their names, images and likenesses.
Although the judge dealt the NCAA a blow, and certainly gave student athletes a landmark victory, her ruling was very narrowly tailored. I have a detailed breakdown of the case and the ruling on Outkick the Coverage on FoxSports.com.
In my opinion, Division IV was like Texas threatening to leave the Big XII; it was never going to happen. Texas wanted Longhorn Network and all the money that came with it, and the Power 5 (the ACC, Big XII, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC) want autonomy within the confines of the NCAA.
Click here to keep reading my thoughts on why Division IV isn’t happening over on Outkick the Coverage.
The NCAA has reached a proposed $20 million settlement with current and former student athletes in the class action led by former ASU and Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller. If approved by Judge Claudia Wilken, it would be in addition to the $40 million settlement agreed to by EA Sports and CLC less than two weeks ago.
The Keller case involves similar issues as the O’Bannon case, which officially went to trial today: use of player likenesses in EA Sports video games. However, the plaintiffs in the Keller case were seeking monetary damages for current and former student athletes who allege their likenesses were used in the games, while the O’Bannon class is asking for an injunction that would prevent the NCAA from limiting student athlete’s ability to be compensated for use of their names and likenesses in video games, television broadcasts and other forms of marketing. In essence, Keller’s case sought to compensate current and former student athletes whose likenesses have already been allegedly misappropriated, whereas O’Bannon’s case seeks an NCAA rule change that would benefit future student athletes.
“This is the first time in the history of the NCAA that the organization is paying student-athletes for rights related to their play on the field, compensating them for their contribution to the profit-making nature of college sports,” said lead attorney for the Keller plaintiffs Steve Berman. “We’ve long held through our various cases against the NCAA that the student-athlete is treated poorly in everything from scholarships to safety. This settlement is a step toward equity and fairness for them.”
The $20 million will be available for claims by current and former student athletes who competed in FBS football or Division I basketball and who believe their likeness was included in a video game produced by EA Sports since 2005.
“With the games no longer in production and the plaintiffs settling their claims with EA and the Collegiate Licensing Company, the NCAA viewed a settlement now as an appropriate opportunity to provide complete closure to the video game plaintiffs,” said NCAA Chief Legal Officer Donald Remy in a statement.
The NCAA has also stated that it will allow current student athletes to make claims and collect settlement funds without risking their eligibility.
Ever wondered how much schools actually made from the EA Sports games? I have the answer here, and it might surprise you.