At an NCAA conference in Washington, D.C., UNC joined other ACC and Power 5 conference schools, their delegates and student-athletes to discuss the newly proposed legislation. UNC did not have any of its student-athletes present at the conference.
The most important resolution was a cost of attendance policy, which will allow universities to fund more than just tuition, said UNC Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham.
“The first (resolution) was moving the scholarship from what had been previously defined as a full scholarship — room, board, books, tuition, fees — to (one that) includes miscellaneous expenses, or what is commonly referred to as cost of attendance,” he said. “Beginning in the fall of 2015, we’ll be able to offer full cost of attendance for student-athletes.”
One of the more controversial resolutions voted on and rejected was the proposal that an athlete’s poor performance should result in an elimination or reduction of a scholarship, Cunningham said.
Lissa Broome, the director of UNC’s Center for Banking and Finance and a representative of the University’s Faculty Athletics Committee, said the connection between poor athletic performance and the cutting of scholarship funding was a highly controversial topic among the representative student-athletes.
“Some athletes were against the resolution, saying that they only wanted to play with the best on their teams,” she said. “(Now), if you have a player who doesn’t run as fast as you thought they did, you can’t cut them for that reason.”
Jackie Copeland, senior assistant director of client services and the NCAA in UNC’s Office of Scholarships and Student Aid, said the resolution doesn’t require massive restructuring of how student-athletes receive scholarships.
“For me and our office, it’s really just going to mean that athletics will pay a different dollar amount,” she said. “The funding for athletic scholarships comes from the Department of Athletics, so it won’t have a budgetary change for our office.”
Broome said she expects the new legislation to have an impact across the country, because UNC student-athletes aren’t the only ones grappling with paying for their college experience.
“It affects UNC just like it affects any other school,” she said.
Copeland said the financial benefits will stop many UNC student-athletes from worrying about finding money from elsewhere to cover expenses that aren’t tuition-based.
“Currently we do have students who don’t have their full costs met with grant or scholarship funding; they can borrow loans,” she said. “But I also see what the appeal would be for someone in athletics to not want those students to have to borrow if they’re supposed to be here on a full scholarship.”