As a high school senior prepared to come to Temple in the fall, I watched from afar. I understood the purpose of these cuts—other schools like the University of Maryland had eliminated programs due to budget concerns—but I wasn’t quite sold on the plan.
Current Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Clark, then the athletic director, told The Temple News last year one of the goals of the cuts was to fully fund the remaining nineteen Division I programs.
In 2014, more than half of the sports programs received renovated locker rooms. The university also fully funded scholarships for all women’s sports and most of the men’s teams.
Seeing the freed money from the cuts go directly into the programs, like it was intended to do was a comforting sign. This summer, the athletic department made another decision regarding its funding of the programs on campus.
In January 2015, 65 schools in the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern conferences—who have noticeably higher television contract revenue and the ability to make their own rules among themselves—agreed to a new rule regarding athletic scholarships for student-athletes.
The rule, which went into effect Aug. 1, allows all Division I schools—including Temple, which belongs to the American Athletic Conference—to provide additional funding to student-athletes on top of their athletic scholarships. The purpose, according to the NCAA’s website, is “to provide funds to help pay the full costs of attending college, such as travel and other expenses.”
Prior to this summer, athletes who received full athletic scholarships had tuition, room and board, required fees and books covered. The cost of attendance scholarship is intended to provide additional funds in order to account for the expenses that come with living on a college campus like travel and personal expenses and Division I schools were allocated $55,000 from the NCAA in order to help do so.
Senior Associate Athletic Director for Communications Larry Dougherty told The Temple News it is implementing a $2,500 annual cost of attendance stipend to all of its scholarship student-athletes, to be tacked onto any scholarship they already have. Athletes who receive partial scholarships will receive cost of attendance based on their percentage of scholarship.
“It’s a number that fit into what our budget would allow,” Athletic Director Pat Kraft told The Temple News in an interview Wednesday. “Run the numbers. What can we afford? And then, what can we give to everybody to maintain our Title IX.”
The new cost-of-attendance rules are being interpreted differently among the affected universities.
USA Today reported this summer the cost of attendance figures for 90 different schools, listing six programs in The American. The University of Cincinnati, East Carolina University, Southern Methodist University, the University of Houston and the University of South Florida all had higher numbers than Temple.
Cincinnati topped the list of all Division I schools providing between $5,504 to $7,018 of cost of attendance to only its football, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball and women’s tennis athletes. East Carolina provides $4,025 to its football and men’s and women’s basketball players while giving $2,025 to its other athletes.
“It’s still evolving,” Kraft said. “As we continue as athletic directors and presidents, I still think people are trying to figure this all out. I think that’s why we did what we did. We did what we felt was right for Temple, what was right for our student athletes. You can’t get caught up in the noise of what other people are doing.”
Providing cost of attendance to all of its athletes is consistent with the athletic department’s goals of fully funding all sports.
I am not sure what factors affected the decision making at other universities, but if Temple had decided to provide its football and both basketball teams a larger cost of attendance figure people would have been upset—including myself.
The university’s cost of attendance figures are a step in the right direction. As decisions regarding the athletic department are made for the next several years, it will be important to continue to look at them critically. Five sports teams no longer exist at the university so the remaining programs can be given the tools to succeed. I hope the university continues to keep this in mind.
I think they have so far.
Owen McCue can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @Owen_McCue.