This always happens when someone brings up the idea of paying the kids who make the money some more of the money: everyone points and says "Machiavelli!"
look away unless you want to see the guy on the left
feed the guy on the right with regurgitated worms
This may be true. I have a hard time believing the man who wrote the infamous SEC letter is a political mastermind, but yeah, okay, this looks like a thing that will benefit big schools at the expense of small schools.
Fine. Let's drop that point. No one has attempted to answer this, though: why do we care? This is the point Delany's making when he talks about orienting the NCAA towards student welfare instead of a level playing field. Some schools are going to lose. They are the schools throwing a bunch of money at D-I athletics for dubious gains and not doing too well by their students while doing it. This makes their life a bit harder. And… so?
Even guys like Big Ten Wonk are peeved, which surprises me:
…the conferences with the deepest pockets will be able to address the needs of “student welfare.” The rest — the majority — will not. …
If the Big Ten wants players in its revenue sports to have “full cost of attendance” scholarships, the league has the resources to make it happen. (They have the resources to make it happen even assuming the bottom-line figure would need to be doubled and shared with an equal number of non-revenue athletes in women’s sports to survive Title IX scrutiny.) But creating these new dollarships, while merely cementing existing imbalances in college football recruiting in place, would revolutionize college basketball recruiting overnight. The elite high school football player already chooses between programs that can afford full cost of attendance scholarships. Not so the top high school basketball talent. In a sport where TV exposure and NCAA bids are spread (relatively) far and wide, talent currently has far less incentive to travel in packs. That will change, dramatically, when major-conference programs can offer recruits a better financial package than what mid-majors are able to afford.
I disagree. Unless increasingly ludicrous Title IX restrictions mean that every revenue-generating athlete's full cost of attendance scholarship is matched by a similar outlay to any confused chemistry major who wanders onto the rowing team, the maximum reasonable cost to mid-majors is around $50,000 a year. To take a not-totally-random stab at a mid-major you might have heard of, this will increase VCU's basketball expenses by just under 4 percent. George Mason's will go up slightly over 4 percent. GMU can zero this out by cutting coach pay (approximately 460k) 12%.
Every mid-major that cares to compete will shrug and FCOA their athletes without blinking. Student activity fees already in the hundreds of dollars will go up a few dollars in response.
Meanwhile, the surprises Wonk lauds usually come from ignored late bloomers, not recruits actively picking mid-majors over big schools. Of the top 70 players in this year's Rivals 150, two are going outside the BCS. One, UCF commit Michel Chandler, is undoubtedly involved in some Funny Business. The other, Charleston recruit Adjehi Baru, is a native of Ivory Coast who went to Charleston because they offered the son of his legal guardian a scholarship. Non-BCS four-stars farther down the list are going to Gonzaga (75), Xavier(76), BYU(86), Harvard (88), Alcorn State(94), SMU (98), and WKU (105).
A total of nine of 106 four-stars going to non-BCS schools. Gonzaga, Xavier, and BYU will FCOA. Harvard is Harvard. There are hypothetically three four-stars this year who might be swayed by extra money at a BCS school, and smart money is on each of the three having issues that cooled interest from bigger schools. The existing imbalances in college football recruiting are at least as strong in basketball; nothing of importance will be lost by allowing schools that can afford it to slightly lighten the hypocrisy inherent in the system.
The Sport Where It Might Have An Impact
Hockey. This had not occurred to me until I read this bit on Bucky's Fifth Quarter:
With the Big Ten hockey conference on the horizon, a move like this could be a game changer in college hockey recruiting. In addition to noted advantages of grouping traditional powers Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State and Minnesota together with Ohio State and Penn State and the TV contract with the Big Ten Network, athletes receiving this additional bonus for being a Big Ten athlete would be a significant recruiting advantage. Keep an eye on this story as it develops.
A lot of hockey schools are pressed for money as it is. Since hockey is an "equivalency" sport—meaning that scholarships can be divided—the net result could be a situation in which bigger schools have a bigger pool of money to give the guys on the bottom two lines. Hockey has 18 scholarships, which is two too few to cover everyone on the ice if you figure two goalies would be scholarship-worthy at each school. Playing time is less of an issue in hockey, too, since almost everyone plays. There are a number of guys who might go from being scoring line players at small schools to checking line players at large ones.
And that's not all since hockey is in a constant war with junior in a way that basketball and football are not. The carrot of another 5-20k on top of that "actually getting a scholarship" business should help big schools lure prospects who might otherwise head to junior (which might push those other guys right back to the smaller schools). Michigan hockey fans should be all in favor of this.