In what could become a landmark decision, the NCAA has opened the door for NCAA athletes to receive cash stipends on top of their scholarships.
The past Thursday, the NCAA Board of Governors voted in favor of allowing autonomy to the “Power Five” conferences — the Big Ten, SEC, ACC, Big 12 and the Pac-12, along with Notre Dame.
What does that mean though?
Simply put, the NCAA has voted to allow 65 teams from the five major conferences the ability to write and vote on their own rules. One of those items that has already been discussed includes full cost-of-attendance stipends. Essentially extra money to cover expenses not covered by an athletic scholarship.
The eight Division One Hockey schools that could take advantage of this immediately are Minnesota, Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State of the Big Ten, and Notre Dame and Boston College in Hockey East.
Yes. The rich could just get that much richer.
While all schools would have the ability to open their budgets to compete with the Power Five conference teams, there’s no way many of the smaller programs in college hockey could survive by handing out an additional $1 million every year to student-athletes.
One has to wonder how this will impact the gentlemen’s agreement some schools would like to see tossed aside as it relates to verbal commitments.
Can you imagine what a player does who commits to a smaller school at a young age, but who develops later and then has a big school approach him with an extra $3000 stipend? I can see that early verbal commitment going away quickly.
The stipends are coming. It is not a matter of “if” anymore, it is a matter of “when”.
For all those schools who wanted to do away with the verbal commitment agreement keeping schools honest with recruits, this may change some of their minds.
Players who may also be looking at Canadian Major Junior hockey may now also have an additional incentive to stay the NCAA course.
Opening a bigger can of worms perhaps, is if schools start paying stipends, then why wouldn’t Major Junior players be allowed to enroll and play at schools that are paying stipends? Where is the line drawn?
Clearly there are details yet to be hashed out, but Pandora’s Box may have just had its lid pried open.
Joseph Kolodziej – Publisher