There is a new era of college sports beginning and the North Dakota State athletic programs have just made a huge stride for small schools. The Bison will now be paying all of its scholarship athletes. From the football team to the track team, everyone on scholarship will now be getting paid.
INFORUM first reported that the school will begin paying its athletes on scholarship in the 2016-17 season. The stipends will be the full cost of attendance for all athletes and will run the school somewhere between $600,000 and $700,000 that will come from external fundraising.
NDSU athletic director Matt Larsen talked about the school’s decision and said that in order for the athletes to be successful in everything they do, they must be 100 percent focused on their school work and athletics.
“Could a student probably get a job? Yeah, they probably could but not if we want to be successful with all the things we make them do,” Larsen said. “And that is to be special athletes and do great in school and all those things. This certainly alleviates a lot of that.”
NDSU joined Liberty University as the second mid-major school to offer such a large amount of money to its scholarship athletes.
The Bison have 192 athletes on athletic scholarship this year, but not all are on a full ride in its 16 athletic programs. In those cases, the cost of attendance would be equivalent to the amount of the scholarship. So if a student was on a half scholarship, he or she would receive $1,700. Because the school is offering cost of attendance across the board, there are no Title IX concerns, Larsen said.
Larsen talked about having to do this in order to keep up with the big schools in their area who first started offering the stipends.
“For us it was about who you recruit against,” Larsen said. “We’re recruiting against programs that are going to offer this. We thought it was important to give our coaches the tools to be apples to apples with those programs.”
Paying the athletes is going to end up being a good thing for the players, the NCAA, and the fans. The bison were one of the first to take a big step, but they surely won’t be the last.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports