ZACH HORALL | STAFF REPORTER
The NCAA will now allow Division I programs to give basketball student-athletes a stipend for the cost of attendance, an allowance to help them pay for outside expenses while in college.
The Big East announced in May that all men’s and women’s basketball programs in the conference will give their student-athletes stipends to cover the cost of attendance.
Butler will give the players in both programs $3,550 annually. $1,000 is dedicated to paying for books.
Several other Big East schools have also released the amounts they will be paying athletes. Seton Hall and Georgetown will be paying basketball players $2,600 annually and Providence will basketball players pay $1,800 per year
While the difference in the amount of money schools offer to athletes has the potential to impact recruiting, Chris Holtmann, head coach for Butler men’s basketball team, said the differences are minimal.
“I don’t know that we would sell it,” he said. “We’re selling Butler. Everybody’s on equal playing field when you think about it, for the most part. The people we’re recruiting against are offering similar amounts of money, so there’s not an advantage necessarily for one school versus another school.
Senior shooting guard Kellen Dunham said using cost of attendance as a recruitment tool could create a Pandora’s box.
“I think (using money as a recruitment tool) would get in a scary situation with an organization like this treating us like employees,” Dunham said. “I think that part of the experience in being an amateur is playing for a school and playing for a community versus playing for yourself. It teaches a lot of student-athletes the way of the world.”
Senior Roosevelt Jones said the impact of the stipend will vary.
“It probably depends on your situation,” Jones said. “Some people it might have an effect on, others, it won’t. It’s basically their situation and their family.”
Freshman guard/forward Sean McDermott said the cost of attendance did not play a factor in his decision to attend Butler.
“I think if you make your decision based on how much money you’re getting, you’re choosing that school for the wrong reason,” he said. “I think it should be about [if the school is a] fit for you. I understand if some guys need that extra money, but I think that’s choosing a school for the wrong reason.”
Melissa Smurdon, director of Financial Aid, explained how the amount of money basketball players will receive was decided.
“The Office of Financial Aid adjusts the cost of attendance and regularly studies student’s cost and spending to estimate these expenses,” Smurdon said. “$2,550 is the estimated cost of transportation and miscellaneous expenses for the 2015-16 academic year.”
Most of the funds for the stipends will be funded by the university itself through the financial aid budget.
Smurdon said the student-athletes will receive monthly checks. For student-athletes to be eligible for this money, they must be receiving a full scholarship to play basketball for the university.
Student-athletes can use the money for expenses such as food, gas and clothing. But the general consensus is that the student-athletes will utilize it most to cover their travel expenses.
“[Jones] and I are close enough where we can travel home,” Dunham said. “So it’s huge on gas money and things like that, things you need to get to your family.”
Holtmann said he and his staff will give their athletes financial advice on what to do with the money.
“How each guy is going to use it is in their own way,” he said. “We’ll talk to them about the value of it and saving it.”
The Office of Financial Aid also helps athletics advocate good spending habits. The Office of Financial Aid has already met with members of both the men and women’s teams and helped educate them on managing their money and creating good spending habits.