Over the past few years, many people have debated whether or not student-athletes should be paid for what they do.
Recently, the NCAA issued a ruling that allows Division 1 schools to provide student athletes with limited stipends that will help pay for some costs that are not covered by scholarships and financial aid.
Here at Seton Hall, the players on the men’s and women’s basketball teams will receive $2,600 a year, which will be distributed via two checks per semester.
The stipends are intended to cover the costs of transportation and personal necessities. These numbers are based on cost-of-attendance statistics that come straight from the schools’ financial aid offices. They vary per institution, with minimal regulation by the NCAA.
Seton Hall Athletic Director Pat Lyons explained it.
“The Big East Conference mandated that you have to provide this for all men’s and women’s basketball players,” he said. “The other sports we haven’t enacted yet, nor has any other Big East school instituted this for other sports. Men’s and women’s basketball are our head count teams, meaning you could have 13 men’s players on a team and 15 scholarship women’s players on a team.”
Lyons continued: “A lot of our other sports are all equivalency sports. For instance, the soccer team will have a lot more student-athletes than they have scholarships. Because it’s broken down into equivalencies, there are more partial-type scholarships. We’re doing it for men’s and women’s basketball for now, and then we’re going to analyze how to do it for other sports.”
How do students of Seton Hall feel about the way this money is being distributed?
Many non-athletes at SHU understand why the school is doing this and they have no problem with it. But there are some who find it unfair.
Olmedo Restrepo, a teaching assistant in nursing and chemistry classes, is one of those students who do not agree with how the university is handling this.
“What are they doing to get money?” he asked. “I’m a TA and I only get $1,000 a month. And I actually do work.”
Some students say they understand where the money is going and why the athletes are getting this stipend, along with full tuition.
“It’s hard enough to be a Division I athlete, they basically own you,” Gabby D’Amodio, a freshman athletic training major, said. “I went through the recruiting process in high school with softball, and even that was so hard and time-consuming.”
Seton Hall has been a part of the Big East Conference since 2013. Being in such a high-power conference comes with responsibility.
“As an institution, Seton Hall has decided to be in the Big East Conference—which is what we consider to be one of, if not the, best conference in the country,” Lyons said. “And to be in the best conference in the country, you have to be able to pry out the right resources for it. That’s what we’re doing.”
One of the main goals of the athletic department at Seton Hall is to ensure that its athletes are happy and are staying competitive.
“If you talk to any of our athletes, they’re very happy with their experience here and what we’ve done,” Lyons said. “We’ve done millions of dollars of renovations in the past. We’ve added more resources to the program, we have the Under Armour deal and we added the Pirate Sports Network. We’re doing everything we can for and with our athletes to remain competitive in the Big East.”
The money from the stipend comes in especially handy for transportation, said Tony Bozzella, head coach of the women’s basketball team.
Players on both the men’s and women’s basketball teams take classes at Seton Hall over the summer and are responsible for covering the cost of traveling to and from their homes to South Orange.
“As much as they’re on a full scholarship, the cost-of-attendance stipend is important to them because they are still traveling back and forth to Seton Hall numerous times, even during the summer,” Bozzella stated. “And we can’t pay for them to get here, nor can we pay for them to get home.”
Bozzella thinks this new change will help both his and the men’s basketball players at Seton Hall do what they do best, too: play ball.
“This stipend is helping them do what they need to do in order to be better at their job,” he said, “which is playing basketball.”
Olivia Mulvihill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @OliviaMulvihill.