The NCAA’s highest-ranking membership committee today announced it would release additional financial assistance to support new programs that benefit student-athletes in Division I.
The NCAA Board of Governors approved a one-time supplemental distribution of $200 million to Division I schools, which must be used explicitly for programs that benefit student-athletes. Athletics departments will be permitted to use the funds to create endowments that directly support students, to launch financial literacy and mental health programs, or to expand academic advising and tutoring resources, for example. Additionally, uses can include funding for scholarships up to the full cost of attendance, four-year guaranteed scholarships and unlimited meals and snacks for athletes, all of which have been approved in Division I in the past two years.
The funds, which will be disbursed in spring 2017, will be distributed based on the number of full athletics scholarships, providing the most support to the schools that have the largest populations of student-athletes. These funds are in addition to the normal annual distributions to members.
“This is an important time for college athletics, in which our schools are finding new and innovative ways to support student-athletes,” said Board of Governors chair Kirk Schulz, the president at Kansas State University. “But we are mindful that these programs come at a cost that can strain schools’ budgets. So the decision to provide this one-time funding to the Division I membership will help schools through this transition and shows our continued commitment to student success.”
The distribution will be paid from unrestricted Division I assets the NCAA holds in reserve as financial protection against significant disruptions in the Association’s operations. In the event of a disruption, the remaining assets held in reserve would continue to be able to fund the national office and provide Division I members with the annual revenue distributions that help fund their athletics programs.
In recent years, Division I has made a number of rule changes in order to provide additional support for college athletes. However, those new rules also increased the financial load on many Division I programs. With the new scholarship rules taking effect this academic year, the Board of Governors – which has the authority to manage assets held in reserve – decided the support was needed at this time.
“We’ve made tremendous progress in the past year toward better care and support of our student athletes,” said Division I Board of Directors chair Harris Pastides, the president of the University of South Carolina, Columbia. “This move puts real money behind those efforts and further demonstrates the commitment we have to helping students succeed in college and prepare for life after sports.
“It’s important to remember that very few athletic programs operate in the black – they are not the money machines they are often portrayed to be,” Pastides added. “We have the opportunity to use excess funds to support our students. It’s the right thing to do and I’m proud of the actions we’ve taken today."