Horizon adds to hoops scholarship money

The Horizon League announced Monday that its athletic directors have approved the addition of $2,000 in cost of attendance allowances for basketball scholarships, reacting to the NCAA last month voting in favor of allowing conferences to make that decision.

"Our operating regulations reflect our longtime league-wide philosophy of providing NCAA-determined maximum scholarship amounts in the sports of men's and women's basketball programs," Horizon League commissioner Jon LeCrone said in a statement. "This vote by our athletic directors supports the continuation of that strategy, which has a record of success."

The Horizon League's most high-profile program is Butler, and athletic director Barry Collier told me over the summer that the school would be able to cover the costs of attendance for its student-athletes.

"Pay-for-play is one thing," Collier said. "Providing the cost of attendance defines something different philosophically.

"It's not enough to stop us from doing it. We would do it if passed. We could handle the additional cost."

Butler actually estimates its cost of attendance fees at about $3,000, including transportation and other indirect costs. But an extra $2,000 should be a welcome relief for the basketball players at Butler who helped the school benefit greatly from making two straight Final Four appearances.

All across the Horizon League, the effects should be felt as well. Additionally, the conference will allow its individual member institutions to decide on adding the $2,000 to scholarships for other sports.

So while it's not quite pay-for-play, the conference is among those stepping up to help athletes with some extra money. Could the number have been higher than $2,000? Certainly, but then again, Horizon League basketball players will probably be happy to get at least a portion of the pie.