Those of you in the upstate may have read the Greenville News interesting article this past week about paying student-athletes. The article gave results of a survey that area college football team members completed, and it relayed information about an association that is seeking to organize college athletes.
We use this article as a bit of a springboard to talk about some changes that the NCAA membership has made in recent years to help student-athletes meet expenses associated with college. The NCAA Special Assistance Fund is made available to student-athletes who are on a Pell Grant or who have extreme financial need, which is verified by the financial aid office. This fund is used to purchase clothes for needy student-athletes, pay for necessary dental work and cover other costs that are fundamental to student-athletes’ educational or athletic experience.
The Special Assistance Fund is administered on campus, and each year a report is sent to the ACC office that accounts for the expenditures. The NCAA determines the amount each school receives in its fund by the number of student-athletes who received Pell Grants the previous year. The fund has been a great idea and it has helped in very significant ways.
The federal government increased the Pell Grant total this year to $4000. This total is split evenly and one portion is given at the beginning of semester. Student-athletes can use this money for miscellaneous expenses and there are no accounting requirements. Our financial aid office administers this fund for student-athletes.
Beginning with the 2002-2003 academic year, the NCAA members changed legislation to allow schools to provide student-athletes with course-related supplies. If a Biology course requires a student-athlete to have a dissection kit, it is permissible for Clemson to purchase that kit for a student-athlete. This new legislation benefits all student-athletes, not just those with unmet financial needs.
Incidental expense waivers are another way that NCAA member schools help student-athletes in difficult circumstances. Just this past week one of our student-athletes lost their father, and we immediately flew the athlete home to be with the other parent. Regretfully in the past years other student-athletes have lost parents, siblings and other relatives close to them, and NCAA rules have allowed Clemson to pay for transportation costs associated with the funeral.
Paying student-athletes? Not sure that will be answered differently any time soon, but in the meantime, it helps to know that our Tigers who have unmet financial needs, and those who experience extraordinary personal loss have a way to stay in school and not sink because of finances.
Want to know more about NCAA and ACC rules? Visit http://clemsontigers.fansonly.com/compliance or call 864-656-1580.
September 30, 2020