Pay to play comes up quite often. There was story a few years ago about an athlete claiming he was starving in the dorms as they had no access to food after the cafeteria closed and weren’t able to work a side job because of school and athletic commitments. This is a mom’s worst nightmare (Your son far away and hungry. Ugh, rip my heart out). So what exactly do you get with your scholarship? Your housing, meals, medical treatment and meds (on campus), classes, books, equipment, team gear, and team travel are all included in your scholarship. Although medical treatments and medications are included you need to continue to pay your health insurance premiums. You will include your insurance information in your medical paperwork for the athletic trainers.
Do you need to apply like a traditional scholarship? YES and NO. You don’t apply in the traditional sense. If a school (coach) is “Offering” you, then he has already made sure your grades and credits meet the requirements and your athletic ability is worth the investment. He’s probably already requested your transcripts and attendance records. Even though you accepted the offer and committed they will still pull a final official transcript and official test scores. Once you commit and sign you will have to fill out what is called a “common application”. This is a basic fill-in-the-blanks of all your info and has a brief essay portion. Your enrollment is not based on this application. However, you still have time to blow it by failing a core class or not finishing senior year strong. This common application is a formality that every student has to do whether on scholarship or not. Furthermore there will also be an initial physical performed by the athletic training staff when you get on campus. If you withheld a serious injury this could affect your enrollment as well.
Cost of attendance
The NCAA’s answer to the “pay-to-play” question is Cost of Attendance which just came about a few years ago. Now, Cost of attendance varies based on the city and state that the student attends college. The higher the cost of living in that city/state, the higher the cost of attendance. (*Pay special attention to this during the presentations on your campus visits and keep in mind the numbers may be slightly inflated because they are trying to entice your son to come there.) This stipend is over and above your scholarship money. It can also be more if you live off campus to help offset the cost of rent. Now if you plan ahead and do this right you can save quite a bit of money throughout your college career. Enough in fact, to have a nice lump of money for you to get on your feet after graduation (if you don’t get drafted or find a job right away). When I say “lump” I mean anywhere between $10k-$30k if you are smart with your money. Meaning if you live in a dorm and only eat meals at the football facility or student union (all paid for by the school), live on campus in the paid housing as long as possible rather than moving off campus, then you would be saving all your cost of attendance money. That’s about $500-$1000 a month in your pocket.
In some cases this is your sons first time having money of his own flowing in monthly. It will take some time for him to get used to this and begin to budget. This is crucial. Make sure you address this before he leaves. Knowledge is power.
What is NOT covered by your scholarship? Any off campus food, off campus housing, flights home for breaks and off campus transportation expenses. Do you get the recurring theme? EAT ON CAMPUS. LIVE ON CAMPUS.
I had a coach bring up the question of players wanting to get paid a salary for playing college sports. That coach brought up a good point: “How would players feel getting docked pay for being late, poor performance in games, poor performance in practice, poor grades, poor class attendance, etc.? How would that affect your work ethic? Your commitment? Are you really ready for performanced based pay raises or pay cuts? Something interesting to think about as they are going from boys to men. When your money is based on your work ethic, as it usually is in real life this could be an interesting catalyst to maturity.
So now you have a good idea of what will be covered by his scholarship and his cost of attendance stipend. Keep all of these things in mind while evaluating schools. If you plan accordingly he could get a free education in addition to a financial cushion to get him started in life.
Hang in there Momma, if we can do anything, it’s make a little bit of money go a long way. I’m sure he’s learned to budget from watching you. As always send your questions and feedback. I’m here to help.
Vocabulary to know:
Common Application– This is a basic fill in the blanks application that is common for most colleges. This is a formality as you have already been offered a scholarship meaning you have already been accepted as long as you fulfill all requirements for graduation.
Cost of Attendance (COA)- A stipend sent directly to the student to offset the cost of living in that city. The higher the cost of living in that city or state, the higher the cost of attendance stipend.
ON campus Housing– Usually dorms paid for by scholarship money.
Off Campus Housing- Usually apartment style living as close as next door to campus. Costs more, not covered by scholarship, may increase your cost of attendance stipend.
Here is a link to the NCAA FAQ’s about Cost of Attendance: