LAWRENCE — Kansas basketball coach Bill Self says he is no longer opposed to providing student-athletes with some form of financial allowance beyond the usual parameters of scholarships.
“I used to be totally against it,” Self said. “I used to be totally against doing anything other than room, board, books, tuition and fees. But I’ve changed. And the landscape has changed also. It was always big business; now it’s huge business.”
Self said he began noticing a disconnect during the NCAA tournaments when revenue for television and the NCAA piled up, but players’ parents had to spend money to follow their kids to different sites, The Kansas City Star reported on Tuesday. He estimated that when Kansas advanced to the NCAA title game this year some of his players’ families spent as much as $10,000 to travel to the team’s three tournament sites.
“And when you’re sending players from the West Coast to East Coast to play sports, to miss more classes, and the schools benefit from that financially, why shouldn’t the people that are responsible for the business, and that would be the student-athletes,” Self said.
Last October, the NCAA passed legislation to provide scholarship athletes an additional $2,000 annually. The legislation was put on hold months later when schools expressed concern about the financial burden.
“Even if it’s to the point where the NCAA paid for the parents of student athletes to attend bowl games (or) paid for the parents of student athletes to attend an NCAA game,” Self said. “There’s so many things you can do.”
Other college coaches who have expressed concern with the current model include Texas football coach Mack Brown and Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari.
“The decisions they make on the $2,000 (expense allowance for student-athletes) — it should have been $4,000,” Calipari told The Sporting News. “It’s a stipend. It’s not salary. It’s not ‘pay-for-play.’ It’s a stipend. It’s expenses. And then schools vote against it. All this stuff piles up to where people are going to say, ‘Enough’s enough.’”