And so it begins.
The Dallas Morning News reports that Texas athletic director Steve Patterson announced yesterday that the University of Texas will begin paying approximately $10,000 to each athlete in response to recent court decisions as well as to cover expenses not otherwise covered by athletic scholarships. Patterson said the total cost to Texas would be approximately $6 million a year.
That won't be a problem for the University of Texas to cover. But what about other schools? Oklahoma shouldn't have an issue. Nebraska won't either. But what about schools in the Power Five conferences like Kansas State, Iowa State, and Purdue?
One thing to note is that although Patterson doesn't say it, the math indicates that this isn't just for football or even men's basketball. $6 million provides a $10,000 payment to 600 athletes, which means that it's likely to be every male and female athlete at Texas. No discrimination between the rowing team and the football team.
The $10,000 estimated amount per players breaks down into two parts: the first is to cover expenses not covered by scholarships. It's things like meals outside the training table and trips home. So it's an average. To use an example at Nebraska, Josh Banderas would get less for trips to his parents home across town in Lincoln than kicker Mauro Bondi would receive for trips home to Boca Raton, Fla.
The second part is a $5000 payment in compensation for the university to use his image. That's the amount set by U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken in her ruling on the Ed O'Bannon case. The number may be arbitrary, but it was set by the courts, not Texas.
So every school will be up for this, though schools that don't market a players likeness won't be required to compensate their players. That might be an out for smaller schools in non-Power 5 conferences. Maybe even for the Iowa States and Purdues in the big conferences.
The "total cost" amount is going to be more variable, though since it's a common practice in academic scholarships, it might not be as suspect for abuse as you might think. Obviously, a school like Hawai'i might have to pay more, due to the cost of life and travel to and from the islands. But at first glance, it seems unlikely that Alabama would be able to offer significantly more to an athlete than Texas - or Nebraska. The net value to the athlete should be the same no matter what school is picked. A school might offer more - but only because it'll cost the student more.
So it begins, and now the only question is who is going to play under these new rules. And what will the effects be at smaller schools? Will they drop some non-revenue sports as a response? Have schools planned for this as revenue from new television deals start to roll in?