Big Ten Offers Athletes Stipends; Penn State Atop the List

Over time, college sports has earned the respect of its fans based on the premise of hard work and integrity.  While some of its top athletes move on to compete professionally, college sports has successfully attempted to remove money from the equation of its product.  Still, the NCAA was only able to maintain its morals for so long, and now, the “its all about the money” mentality has never been more prevalent as the Big Ten announced that its schools will provide athletes with stipends on top of their designated scholarships.  The stipends will reportedly allow the students to afford their high costs of living outside of the classroom and give the conference an even bigger edge when recruiting the nation’s top athletes.

According to the numbers released by CollegeData.com, Penn State is largest winner offering athletes roughly $4,788.  Next in line were the Wisconsin Badgers and Nebraska Cornhuskers offering $4,265 and $3,544 respectively. Only two other members of the conference offered more than $3,000 with those being the Maryland Terrapins and Indiana Hoosiers.

The most shocking part of this news may be its impact on the likes of Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State, who all fell below expectations.  The Buckeyes, the returning National Champions, have a much lower number than expected ($2,454) and could be significantly impacted by the other team’s more substantial numbers.  Michigan’s new head coach Jim Harbaugh also may be a bit disappointed with the numbers allowing him only to give on $2,054 to his athletes.

One would have to expect the low stipend programs to push for more funding for their athletes in order to level the playing fields across the conference.  Nonetheless, this new process is one that must be controlled by its governing body and could terror the integrity of college sports.

*Section Photo credit to Andy Lyons, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Mary Langenfeld, USA Today Sports