The Virginia Tech Hokies football program made headlines today when a list of fineable offenses was leaked, which players having to pay out of their own cost-of-attendance stipends for infractions as minor as missing breakfast to having a dirty dorm room or locker.
Since the leak, Cincinnati head coach Tommy Tuberville has shown interest in starting a similar practice, but one man who won’t be doing that is Florida Gators first-year head coach Jim McElwain, whose words were quoted by Edgar Thompson of the Orlando Sentinel and Zach Abolverdi of the Gainesville Sun.
Mac on fining players: "That's something they put in nationally to help student-athletes. That's theirs'."
— Edgar Thompson (@osgators) August 27, 2015
McElwain asked if #UF would fine players with their stipend money. "No. That's theirs."
— Zach Abolverdi (@ZachAbolverdi) August 27, 2015
McElwain is absolutely right. Cost-of-attendance stipends are given to student-athletes to use for transportation and day-to-day expenses, and they shouldn’t be fined for any reason period, no matter how justified the reason for doing so is. The long and short of it is that unless the NCAA suddenly changes its policy and starts paying its student-athletes more than just these stipends, allowing coaches to fine them and pay out of said stipends is inviting a whole world of trouble.
Think about it. It could affect recruiting for certain schools. It could tarnish coaches’ reputations. Most important of all, particularly in basketball, recruits could opt to play professionally overseas before entering the NBA draft, a la former SMU commit Emmanuel Mudiay, who went to play in China instead of going to school.
Thus, though some may agree with VA Tech’s approach, McElwain is on the right page.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports