For Immediate Release: December 15, 2011
Ramogi Huma, NCPA President, w. 951-898-0985, c. 714-803-1704
Riverside, CA— Despite a new TV revenue windfall of almost $800 million per year, NCAA Vice President David Berst acknowledged a challenge to the NCAA’s recent approval of an annual increase of up to $2000 per scholarship student-athlete. As of yesterday, 97 schools were reported to stand in opposition to the $2000 increase for student-athletes. The increase will be automatically suspended if the number of opposing colleges reaches 125.
NCPA President Ramogi Huma stated, “It’s time for colleges to finally do the right thing. The concerns they raised are insignificant compared to the real life toll that they will inflict on their student-athletes who are already living below the federal poverty line.” The NCPA is calling on colleges to rescind their opposition to the $2000 increase to relieve the financial desperation that the NCAA’s current scholarship limit imposes on student-athletes.
The NCPA is also calling on colleges that refuse to rescind their opposition to immediately announce their opposition publicly. “It’s cowardly of these colleges to try to rob student-athletes of this much needed increase behind closed doors. Believe me, student-athletes want to know exactly which of their schools are standing in the way of their financial relief. If this increase is eliminated, we will make sure that colleges’ positions on this issue will come to light and that their student-athletes and recruits know exactly where they stand.” The NCPA is making plans to launch public records requests and work with lawmakers to find out which colleges sign on to the opposition petition.
In addition, the NCPA is calling upon lawmakers to secure basic protections for student-athletes. A joint study conducted by the NCPA and the Drexel University Department of Sport Management highlighted the NCAA’s inability to reform itself by pointing to a 2009 Knight Commission report revealing that 95 FBS college presidents admitted that college presidents lack the power to reform the NCAA. This admission is playing itself out in embarrassing fashion for the NCAA just weeks after NCAA Board members approved the $2000 increase and declared they would not re-examine the issue for at least three years. Unfortunately for student-athletes, three years will come early. Huma stated, “The NCAA and its college presidents have demonstrated that government intervention is necessary to bring forth meaningful, sustained reform in college sports.”
The NCPA has fought for over 10 years to increase scholarships FBS football and Division I men’s basketball student-athletes equal to the cost of attendance of attendance, which would require about $3500 in additional funds per player annually. It advocates for matching funds for female student-athletes to ensure Title IX compliance. Contrary to NCAA claims that increasing scholarships would be too expensive, the NCPA conducted a joint study with the Drexel University Department of Sport Management showing almost $800 million in new annual TV revenues of which $136 million in new annual revenues is generated from the NCAA-CBS Tv deal. The NCPA’s scholarship proposal would cost a total of about $102 million annually. Therefore, every football and men’s basketball player can receive educational support that exceeds the NCAA’s $2000 proposal and provide equal increases to female student-athletes without forcing any school to tap existing resources. Huma stated, “There are no credible excuses to deny these student-athletes scholarships that equal the full cost of attendance. This challenge is simply about greedy colleges that are trying to take much needed resources from their players while they pay their coaches and ADs six and seven figure salaries. It’s the same type of money grab that we’re witnessing with conference realignments.”
Student-athletes began voicing their frustration after the NCPA informed them of the challenge to their $2000 annual increase.
UCLA football player Jeff Locke stated, “All of the student-athletes are shocked. This increase was not near the compensation college athletes need to live, but it would have helped all of us with our basic needs. The NCAA fails once again to protect those who bring in billions for them.”
Purdue quarterback Rob Henry stated, “This is a huge disappointment to say the least. We work so hard for our respective universities and then they vote to take something away from us that will benefit us greatly.”
Some players took to Twitter to make statements and rally other student-athletes to join the NCPA. Arizona football player David Roberts tweeted, “Its not fair to the future student-athletes to have benefits that NCAA agreed are needed taken away behind closed doors…We have to fight back because it’s clear the schools do not have the student-athletes’ best interest in mind…How do colleges have the money to pay off all the coaches for terminating their contracts early but not enough $ to pay for cost of living?” Roberts tweeted another question, “Were we one of the schools that voted against the $2000 increase?”
Boston College football player Andre Williams sent a tweet addressed to the NCPA, “I’m down for another lockout in 2011 if it came to it…”
Notre Dame’s Jamoris Slaughter tweeted, “NCAA still robbing college athletes.” Slaughter’s teammate Austin Collinsworth tweeted, “If U R a college fb player follow @NCPANOW it’s about time the players have a voice”. Another teammate, Robbie Toma tweeted, “All college athletes follow!! @NCPANOW #timeforchange”
Clemson football player Rashard Hall tweeted, “Follow @NCPANOW to fight this decision on NCAA eliminating athletes $2000 increase in scholarship”.
The NCPA sent many tweets about this challenge including: “Challenge on $2k increase proves NCAA can erase protections at any time. Need new laws 2 protect student-athletes from greed in NCAA sports.”
The NCPA will keep followers informed about its fight against the elimination of the $2000 increase and more via Twitter @NCPANOW.