Missouri athletic director Mike Alden said his department budgeted an additional $1 million in financial aid for the upcoming fiscal year to cover the full cost of student-athlete attendance now that autonomy has come to NCAA Division I.
Alden, whose term as president of the National Association of College Athletic Directors ended last weekend, has been a central figure in the seismic shift taking place in college sports.
That shift reached an apex Saturday during the annual NCAA convention in Fort Washington, Md., where a proposal overwhelmingly passed that will allow schools to provide additional money to athletes starting in August.
“We will opt in to that and be able to provide full cost of attendance for our student-athletes … and we’re looking forward to that,” Alden said.
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The MU athletic department spent $8.5 million of its $70 million of expenditures on student-athlete financial aid in 2012-13, the last full financial year for which figures are publicly available.
Full cost of attendance, even for schools in the so-called Power Five conferences, including the Southeastern, is an opt-in provision. No schools are mandated to enact full cost of attendance beyond current NCAA scholarship guidelines.
Schools outside the major conferences also can opt in and offer full cost of attendance, which will be formally enacted in August, and most are expected to take part.
“It’s not hard and fast data, but from what I was hearing … I would suggest that the majority of those schools that are not part of the five conferences are going to do what they can to be able to provide full cost of attendance,” Alden said. “It may not be for every single sport, but they’re going to try to do that for several sports.”
Full cost of attendance is defined by each school’s financial aid office.
Missouri used federal guidelines and determined that full cost of attendance is roughly $3,000 more than current full-ride scholarship, which pays for tuition, fees, books, room and board.
According to those guidelines, the full cost of attendance also includes additional supplies (including a personal computer, in some instances), transportation (including travel to campus and gas money) and daycare for dependents.
Students on equivalency scholarships, which can be split up among players in sports such as baseball and wrestling, will be eligible for a prorated share.
“This is an opportunity for us to be able to further benefit our student-athletes and, if the rules allow us to be able to do that, we want to do that,” Alden said.
Alden said he expects ticket sales, in particular an expansion of the football season-ticket base, along with increased giving to the Tiger Scholarship Fund and “continued enhancement of multimedia rights package” will defray the full-cost-of-attendance expenses.
Missouri has yet to announce ticket prices for next football season but will not increase season-ticket prices, Alden said. He expects increased revenue from the SEC Network as well.
Addressing the notion that student-athlete scholarships could be reduced based on athletic performance, Alden said MU had not done that “as a matter of practice.” The Tigers can offer four-year guaranteed scholarships or renewable yearly scholarships.
“There have been times we’ve reduced aid or pulled scholarships for other reasons — it could be attitude, it could be grades, it could be a lot of things,” he said, “but there’s a very vigorous appeal process that we have at Mizzou.”
Also under new legislation, college athletes with potentially lucrative professional careers will be allowed to borrow money against potential future earnings to pay for insurance policies to guard against the possibility of injury, Alden said.