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ESPN survey: Coaches believe differing COA payments will impact recruiting

The additional money men's basketball players will receive due to the newly NCAA-allowed cost of attendance will be a recruiting advantage as recruits begin to understand the wide range of money they could receive from different schools, according to more than 70 percent of the Division I men's basketball coaches who responded to an ESPN survey in August.

ESPN received 136 responses from 351 coaches, roughly a third of Division I, from all levels of conferences. Coaches knew the figures would be attributed to the school but didn't want to attach their names to quotes on the subject.

"For those schools that don't implement a plan to do cost of attendance, but compete in a conference where other schools are giving it, it will be almost impossible to keep up and expect to be competitive over the long term,'' a coach from a non-Power 5 conference said.

"I do believe it will have an effect when you are recruiting against schools that don't pay because it will speak to their level of commitment and coaches will use that against them,'' said another coach from a non-Power Five conference.

And one coach from a non-Power 5 conference said it could be the reason why a recruit picks a school.

"COA could be a deciding factor for kids, especially those who come from low-income areas," the coach said. "A lot of the time, we'll recruit kids that have a single mom who's working two jobs. So it's certainly something that could help us when recruiting those student-athletes.''

The cost of attendance figure is meant to cover expenses beyond tuition, room, board, books and fees, with some schools having different monetary amounts for students living on and off campus as well as those from in and out of state. Some of the figures schools provided to ESPN were an average of those above mentioned amounts.

Only 20 schools out of the 136 that responded don't plan on giving COA -- at least for now.

One coach who fit into this group said, "Some of us are having a hard time keeping up budget-wise period, before cost of attendance is even considered.''

A dozen schools -- including the Pac-12's Oregon State -- are undecided for the upcoming year. Oregon State said if the COA is issued, then it would be $2,700 per player.

A coach in the undecided group said, "We are still deciding if we will be using cost of attendance or not. Our allotment could be as much as $3,000 per player. It's a huge recruiting advantage. If our school decides not to do it, we will need to be very creative in our recruiting. It could even affect our style of play.''

But 78 schools outside of the Power 5 that responded to ESPN's survey do plan on giving COA. The payments range from the MEAC's Coppin State offering $300-400 per player to for-profit Grand Canyon out of the WAC paying $5,700.

A glance of the top 15 average payouts in the ESPN survey shows how much a number of schools not in the five power football conferences (Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, SEC and Pac-12) are trying to compete.

Cincinnati (AAC) was No. 1 at $6,802, followed in the top five by Grand Canyon (WAC) $5,700, Tennessee (SEC) $5,666, Auburn (SEC) $5,586 and Louisville (ACC) $5,364.

The second five was No. 6 Florida State (ACC) $5,307.69, Boise State (MWC) $5,191, Arkansas-Little Rock (Sun Belt) $5,000, Houston (AAC) $4,725 and Oklahoma State (Big 12) $4,640.

The third five started with Houston Baptist (Southland) $4,600, Rutgers (Big Ten) $4,500, Utah (Pac-12) $4,500, Colorado (Pac-12) $4,500 and BYU (WCC) $4,498.

Other notable figures included Coastal Carolina (Big South) paying $3,935 as compared to Kansas (Big 12) $3,644. Towson (CAA, $3,200), Manhattan (MAAC, $3,000), Texas-Pan American (WAC, $3,000) and provisional Division I member UMass-Lowell (America East, $2,500) all rank ahead of Big East schools Villanova ($2,460) and Xavier ($2,300).

At least one high-major school doesn't see it as a major advantage in their recruitment, adding, "I don't think it will become one. I think it is great for our student athletes. I don't think it is a recruiting advantage because everybody benefits from it.''