Back in August, in a college finance story I mentioned the case of Rickey Batsell, a north Minneapolis student who is on a “full athletic scholarship” to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff — but who still has a number of living expenses that aren’t covered.
Looks like he’s not alone.
Just for Division I, for example, the Associated Press reports:
… The average “full scholarship” Division I athlete winds up having to pay $2,951 annually in school-related expenses not covered by grants-in-aid.
The story brings an interesting twist to the argument that college athletics help bring in money for scholarships.
Here’s the story:
By ALAN SCHER ZAGIER
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) – A new study suggests that the so-called
“free ride” for college scholarship athletes isn’t quite so free.
The report by Ithaca College researchers and a national
athletes’ advocacy group shows that the average “full
scholarship” Division I athlete winds up having to pay $2,951
annually in school-related expenses not covered by grants-in-aid.
The shortfall represents the difference between educational
expenses such as tuition, student fees, room and board and
ancillary costs not covered by scholarships, from campus parking
fees to calculators and computer disks required for classes.
At some schools, the shortfall can approach or exceed tuition
costs. At Arkansas-Little Rock, for instance, the 2009 shortfall is
nearly $11,000, said Ramogi Huma, a former UCLA linebacker who now
heads the National College Players Association.
“It’s really deceptive to use the words ‘full scholarship,”‘
he said. “There’s never an explanation for recruited athletes that
the price tag for attending school falls short of the scholarship
The Little Rock school disputed that calcuation, suggesting its
gap between athletic scholarships and the actual cost of attendance
is closer to $4,100 a year.
College athletes whose academic expenses aren’t fully covered by
scholarships are more susceptible to the influence of
money-wielding sports agents, Huma suggested. In a recent Sports
Illustrated report, a former agent said he paid more than 30
college football players from 1990-96. Seven of the athletes
confirmed that account.
“The amounts of money he talked about giving these players
falls within the scholarship shortfalls,” Huma said. “These
players are putting everything on the line to get a few bucks in
order to make ends meet … and to meet their basic necessities.”
“If they were to fully fund scholarships, there would be less
A law passed in California earlier this month requires the
state’s colleges and universities to disclose more complete
information about the actual costs of attendance, as well as
details about uncovered medical expenses and policies on
scholarship renewal and transferring to other schools.
The scholarship study by Huma’s group and Ithaca College’s
Graduate Program in Sport Management is based on data submitted by
individual schools to the U.S. Department of Education.
An NCAA spokesman called the current scholarship formula
“appropriate for most student-athletes” and noted that some can
obtain federal Pell Grants and other need-based aid in addition to
The association’s Division I Awards, Benefits, Expenses and
Financial Aid Cabinet considered changes to the scholarship formula
last year “allowing athletics aid up to the cost of attendance,”
but the proposal was not endorsed for further consideration, said
NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson.
Another NCAA committee recently endorsed eight separate
proposals allowing athletes to accept more financial aid – both
merit- and need-based – without affecting team limits on such aid.
At Missouri-Kansas City, which ranks fifth-highest in the new
study with average out-of-pocket expenses of $5,030 annually,
athletic director Tim Hall said the school is up front with
recruits about their financial responsibilities beyond the
“UMKC coaches and staff are careful to communicate to our
potential student-athletes exactly what financial aid package will
be provided to them,” he said.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)