Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A-10 Commissioner McGlade Weighs In On Pay For Play

In a recent ESPN article, columnist Dana O'Neil discusses the ever-growing issue/debate/conundrum of whether paying collegiate student-athletes is a realistic possibility and the potential effects that would have on college athletics.

Commissioner McGlade spoke to O'Neil for the column and the excerpt is as follows:

On the football field a financial disadvantage may not make such a big difference. So what if someday Ohio State is able to offer a COA stipend and Ohio University doesn't? The two schools aren't recruiting the same athletes anyway.

But what about basketball, where the talent gap continues to shrink despite monstrous budgetary chasms?
"In the Atlantic 10, it's absolutely critical to be able to offer cost of attendance if the schools we're competing against do,'' said conference commissioner Bernadette McGlade. "We want to be able to continue to recruit the same student-athletes as those other schools.''

Thanks to the regular successes of Xavier, Temple and Richmond, the A-10 has positioned itself as a basketball conference to be reckoned with. The league annually bumps one of the top six conferences from among the ranks as the most competitive in college basketball. 

But it relies on basketball almost entirely for its revenue. There is no BCS football or any of the accompanying bells and whistles -- big television contracts, for example -- in the A-10. McGlade understandably doesn't want her conference being passed over by recruits who might someday base their college decisions on who does and does not offer that extra stipend.

But she also realizes that, however important such a commitment is, it will also require difficult choices.

"It's going to come down to an individual institutional decision,'' she said. "Schools already say that they're going to be nationally competitive in one sport and fund it accordingly and regionally competitive in another and fund that to a lesser degree. It will be up to the individual institutions to make those decisions and figure out how to make it work with Title IX.''

There is no magic remedy. For cash-strapped institutions, even for those that desperately want to keep up with the Joneses, where is the money supposed to come from?

 What are your thoughts on the issue?  How do you think it would affect college athletics and the A-10?  Leave your thoughts in the comments section of this post!

Click here for the ESPN Column in its entirety.

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