PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany set off a hot topic of conversation last week when he mentioned league officials had discussed the possibility of giving student-athletes money in addition to their scholarships to cover living expenses.
That is a topic that has yet to be addressed at the Big East spring meetings, but commissioner John Marinatto is aware of it.
"There’s a lot of discussion among all the conferences as to whether or not the current model that defines scholarship as being scholarship, room and board should be adjusted," Marinatto said Monday. "We haven’t had that discussion, but we’re open-minded about all of that because that’s something moving forward the NCAA also wants to explore. We’ve not had any in-depth discussions about it to this point, so it’s hard to define a position."
The Big Ten and its bigger conference brethren are in a different position than the non-AQ leagues. Delany suggested the league could use some of its growing television money to help give the student-athletes more money. Some leagues have more money than most, so you are talking about potentially widening the gulf between the haves and have nots. There also are questions about whether to give more money to all student athletes or just those in revenue-generating sports.
"Are there gender equity consequences if you limit it to football?" Marinatto said. "Are there fairness issues if you limit it to certain sports? If you only do it for the revenue generating sports, you’re going to have to define what those are and how they impact the other programs. Are there economic issues associated with it because not everybody may be able to support that model? It’s premature to get into specifics about whether or not you support it. You have to analyze all the components and what it might mean moving forward."
Marinatto also was quick to point out that the topic was only discussed at the Final Four in a brainstorming session as something that should be looked at further. "I don’t know how it was reported but I don’t think there’s been a real discussion about it," he said.