Cost of Attendance: You Know, Boston College Has a Point

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Aug 31, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston College Eagles mascot Baldwin in the stands during the second half against the Villanova Wildcats at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

On the first, Boston College’s concern about the cost of attendance legislation is that in order to subsidize such expenses on an ongoing basis, athletics programs may have to trim the fat. Meaning, of course, eliminating programs. It can become an expensive game for some.

In the event that it does happen down the road, ostensibly students that were having incidental expenses covered under this plan would no longer, transferring the financial burden back to them. I would not envy the athletic director(s) who must decide what unlucky programs and its students get the proverbial ax.

Cost of attendance scholarships are optional for schools, but no doubt the money will be a wedge issue used in recruiting pitches against non-participating programs.

The second point is one raised here some time ago. Of all this I said in December:

”While these reforms stand to benefit the student-athletes, a question to be asked is if the massive growth of college sports and the attention paid to the needs of athletes will drive more of a wedge between them and the rest of the student body. They already get benefits and attention that most students do not see, and they only stand to get more as college sports continue to boom.”

At what point do student-athletes stop being students so much as they are employees of an athletics department? We are not yet at the point where we will find out, but we are migrating in that direction.

There is no question that the cost of attendance scholarship would be a great benefit to student-athletes, some more than others (especially any who may come from lower-income backgrounds and would otherwise have trouble affording college). At the same time, under this proposal, the student-athlete becomes more of an elite figure on a college campus, seemingly more favored by the university than everybody else.

Boston College is not going to get, and did not expect, a major positive response to their objections. Being the lone dissenting vote out of 80 should be proof enough of that.

Nevertheless, while the school knew they had no chance of stopping this from taking place, they do have every right to object on principle, and their points are valid. At first, I was annoyed at the school for singling themselves out in such a manner, but if any athletics program was bound to look beyond face value, foster debate, and offer thoughtful criticism, I’m glad it was mine.

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