Every third Thursday of each month, Idaho Director of Athletics Dr. Rob Spear will post a new blog entry directed towards Vandal fans. Dr. Spear will use these monthly communiqués to set the record straight and talk to you – Vandal to Vandal..


An archive of previous blog entries can be accessed here.



November 2011

This is the first of a four part series explaining new NCAA legislation and the impacts.

With all the discussion and interest surrounding conference realignment and coaching changes, recent decisions made by the NCAA have fallen under the radar.  Over the summer, NCAA President Mark Emmert established Working Groups in the areas of Academic Performance, Student-Athlete Well Being, Resource Allocation, Rules, and Enforcement.  Several of the recommendations already have been adopted and are going to create significant financial impacts for mid-major colleges and universities.  Let’s review one of the most significant changes and the potential impacts.

The most significant changes were recommended by the Student-Athlete Well-Being Working Group and subsequently passed by the NCAA Board of Directors in October.  The greatest permits a Division I student-athlete, who has received institutional financial aid equal to the value of a full grant in aid (i.e. tuition and fees, room and board and required course-related books), to receive additional athletically related financial aid up to the value of the institution’s “cost of attendance,” or up to $2,000, whichever is less.  Every post-secondary institution that receives federal financial aid funds must calculate the institution's Cost of Attendance.  While the COA varies among higher educational institutions, it is published annually by each educational institution and typically includes:

·         Tuition and fees payable to the institution

·         Books and supplies

·         Room and board

·         Personal costs, transportation

Currently a student-athlete’s scholarship covers tuition, fees, books, and room and board but not personal costs, transportation and supplies.  Because NCAA rules prohibit institutions from providing additional benefits, like personal costs and transportation, the Bowl Championship Subdivision (BCS) conferences have made the case that student-athletes are not fairly compensated. 

While we all want to provide the best possible care for our student-athletes, the additional stipend comes at a cost.  For the University of Idaho to implement this newest NCAA legislation for head count sports, the cost will be $266,000 annually.  To cover this cost for all of our scholarship student-athletes, the cost increases to $414,000.   This difference is due to the ambiguity in the legislation on how the stipend would be applied to student-athletes participating in equivalency sports (track and field, cross country, golf, men’s tennis, soccer, an swimming).  A student-athlete participating in an equivalency sport could receive the stipend only if their non-athletically related aid (academic scholarships, loans, grants, etc.) exceed the value of the full cost of a grant-in-aid. 

Because many of our female student-athletes participate in equivalency sports, there is a national concern with the impact of this legislation on gender equity.  Gender equity is linked directly to Title IX, which is the federal law that prohibits gender discrimination in any educational program.  Under this law athletics, drama, band and other extracurricular student activities are considered to be educational programs.  Specifically, we must ensure that our female student-athletes receive athletic scholarship dollars proportional to their participation and make sure we provide equitable treatment in:

  • equipment and supplies
  • scheduling of games and practice times
  • travel and daily allowance
  • access to tutoring
  • coaching
  • locker rooms
  • practice and competitive facilities
  • medical and training facilities and services
  • publicity and promotions
  • recruitment of student athletes
  • support services

With the focus of the $2,000 stipend attributed directly to head count sports, we all should be concerned with the potential impact on gender equity of this newly adopted legislation.