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Report claims OSU misused Student Assistance Funds

  • I don't know if this boring read has legs or not. It clearly states below that Ohio State is the biggest offender in the big ten of misuse of these funds, .. .but in my opinion, it's got a lot of his opinion in the charges.
    If you have the patience to go through this, here is :
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    Chronicle of Higher Ed Details Big Ten SAF Spending
    January 31, 2013 by John Infante/Bylaw Blog/

    The NCAA’s $75 million Student Assistance Fund is one of the shining examples of the NCAA, almost unimpeachable. It is the easiest thing to point to if you want to argue that the NCAA will do college athletics better than anyone else. Compare it to the BCS and whatever will follow, which earmarks exactly $0 for athletes. The SAF is hard to screw up.

    But a number of Big Ten schools managed to do it, by either spending the money on impermissible uses, retaining too much of the money, or in the worst cases, relying on the NCAA to pay expenses which the school is allowed to pay for through other means. Brad Wolverton of the Chronicle of Higher Education detailed the spending ( http://chronicle.com/article/NCAA-Money-for-Student/136927/ ) from an NCAA document (subscription req’d).

    Iowa spend $9680 of SAF funds on impermissible expenses in violation of NCAA rules. SAF funds were used to pay for administrator travel, paper shredding, and displays in athletic facilities. Iowa said this was an administrative oversight and repaid the money back into the SAF account. So at least there was no loss of funds available to athletes in this case.

    The Big Ten also has a large reserve or surplus of SAF money, totaling $2.1 million after the 2011–12 academic year, about $175,000 per school. A Student Assistance Fund reserve is a tricky thing. On the one hand, money not spent is money that cannot possibly benefit student-athletes. On the other hand, holding money in reserve means the institution can respond to one-time events, like natural disasters that destroy all of a student-athlete’s possessions. But $175,000 in reserve is more than many schools without football receive in total SAF money each year.

    ► But one of the poorest uses of the fund comes from Ohio State, although why this is so bad is hard to see at first:

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    (gessig note: I believe this quote is from Brad Wolverton's piece mentioned above, but the article leaves me unsure of that)
    (quote)

    Years ago Ohio State surveyed its players to find out how they wanted the money spent. The top two responses: health insurance and parking.

    Ohio State now uses the fund to pay half the cost of its athletes’ health insurance, Mr. Archie said. And last year the university bought parking permits for 126 students, the Big Ten document shows, for a total of $25,856.

    (end quote)
    -

    Wolverton’s article questions the parking permits, which essentially means money goes back to the university, but that is defensible. That would be money out of the students’ pockets, so they receive a benefit, even if the university keeps the money.

    It is the health insurance that’s the real problem. All because of this:

    (bylaw)
    Bylaw 16.4.1 – Permissible.

    Identified medical expense benefits incidental to a student-athlete’s participation in intercollegiate athletics that may be financed by the institution are:
    (a) Medical insurance;
    (end bylaw)

    The Student Assistance Fund is a limited pot of money that can pay for things which schools cannot, like travel, clothing, and school supplies. But since the White case was settled in 2008, schools can pay for any health insurance for athletes, not just insurance that covers their injuries from participating in athletics.

    Now it is not safe to assume that just because Ohio State is Ohio State, it has money to burn. But a few numbers say that it probably had money for this. Ohio State’s EADA report for 2011–12 ( http://1.usa.gov/WB0zPC ) showed a $25 million operating surplus. But that seems overstated, and may not include roughly $16 million of capital expenses. That makes sense given that USA Today’s database shows ( http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/college/story/2012-05-14/ncaa-college-athletics-finances-database/54955804/1 ) Ohio State with a $9 million surplus the year prior. But the most critical piece is this from Kristi Dosh about Ohio State’s 2011–12 budget ( http://bit.ly/WDVbIy ):

    (excerpt from the mentioned "Ohio State’s 2011–12 budget":)
    Every single sport at Ohio State is receiving an overall increase in their expense budget for 2011–2012. The percentage of increase ranges from 0.9% (Women’s Cross Country) to 9.4% (Women’s Soccer).
    (end excerpt)

    That means Ohio State is choosing to fund an across-the-board spending increase, rather than spending budget dollars on health insurance for student-athlete. It is then using SAF funds to cover the health insurance. That reduces the amount of money available for things that only the Student Assistance Fund can pay for.

    The NCAA could fix many of these issues by requiring that the Student Assistance Fund only be used for things that cannot be funded any other way. Otherwise the fund will continue to be used to supplement an athletic department’s budget, which is not the intended purpose.

    http://www.athleticscholarships.net/2013/01/31/chronicle-of-higher-ed-details-big-ten-saf-spending.htm

    This post was edited by gessig 18 months ago

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    Woody and Archie.................................. Alex being Alex, ....................................and Woody at Dennison

  • all I NEED to know is what can happen to us, IF this is proven true. Is it just a PR hit, or can the NCAA cut the funding or do anything to uscause we are currently on probation? My guess/hope is it it is just re structured, I don't think we have "violated" anything..right?

  • It doesnt seem like that big of a deal, after rereading it, we are using money from the ncaa (instead of our own) to cover something that we are allowed to cover. Anyone with half a brain balancing the budget would do the same.

    "Identified medical expense benefits incidental to a student-athlete’s participation in intercollegiate athletics that may be financed by the institution are:
    (a) Medical insurance; "

    If you had to spend money on something would you rather use gift cards you got for free or dip into your bank account?

    This post was edited by InTresslWeTrust 18 months ago

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    Woody and Archie.................................. Alex being Alex, ....................................and Woody at Dennison

  • This is an issue that would be argued in a court house and not in some sports writers opinion.

    "The only thing That Team Up North will be tasting this year is the salty tears of defeat" - UFM

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    "according to a source familiar with the goings on behind the doors of the WHAC,there is absolutely no panic.Actually, quite the contrary."

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  • I'm sorry I fell asleep by the end of the second paragraph.

  • If this subject doesn't interest you, please skate on by :-)
    Sorry for the long post, but felt it coupled well with the original article, above.
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    (tweet)
    Dennis Dodd ‏@dennisdoddcbs
    B10 schools may have misappropriated funds from NCAA's Student-Athlete Assistance Fund."
    (end tweet)
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    Here's the reason for including Dodd's tweet in this post:
    He included a link I followed.
    It took me to the Wolverton article mentioned above. But now it's NOT subscription based, as I can see.
    Also, Though I did only do a concentrated-skim through it, I don't feel it's written in such a damning manner as the John Infante/Bylaw Blog entry in the original post, or Dodd's tweet, imply.

    But what's your take?

    Here is that Brad Wolverton article at Chronicle.com

    NCAA Money for Student Assistance Lands in Many Pockets, Big Ten Document Shows
    By Brad Wolverton
    January 31, 2013

    Amid a national debate about paying college athletes, the NCAA likes to tout its often-overlooked Student Assistance Fund, whose goal is to provide direct financial support to players. The fund—which draws from the association's multibillion-dollar media-rights deals—will distribute some $75-million this year to Division I athletes.

    The money has helped colleges reimburse players for such things as clothing, health insurance, summer school, and many other costs that their scholarships don't cover.

    But not all of the dollars directly help students. According to a Big Ten Conference document obtained by The Chronicle, the University of Iowa used part of its money last year to pay shredding fees, cover administrator-travel costs, and purchase displays for an arena. (The university has since charged those expenses to another account, describing the incident as an accounting error.)

    Other Big Ten universities have used their distribution in part to pay for lightning-detection software (Northwestern University), "team-building" activities (Ohio State University, the University of Illinois, the University of Michigan, and the University of Wisconsin), and hundreds of thousands of dollars in parking permits—money that, in the end, often goes right into the universities' pockets.

    Other institutions spent a share of their allocation on team massages and yoga, chair rental, "welcome back events," and a battery of reading and learning tests. (Pennsylvania State University paid $50,225 for "LD Testing" on 28 athletes.)

    One student-aid director raised concerns about the apparent use of part of the money for administrative purposes.

    "I would think a school would be able to find things that would impact a student firsthand that would make much more sense to spend the money on," said Jacquelyn Copeland, a senior assistant director in the office of financial aid at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "I'm not sure if those institutions just weren't able to find students to help out, or what would cause them to step into that realm."

    When distributing the money, many institutions give priority to recipients of Pell Grants, the federal assistance program for needy students that in recent years has helped at least 16 percent of Division I athletes. But the possible use of some of those NCAA dollars to meet staff or team objectives, rather than to directly benefit low-income students, concerns people who study policies and practices affecting college success.

    "It says that schools do not always work on behalf of their students," Sara Goldrick-Rab, an associate professor of educational-policy studies and sociology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, said in an e-mail. "We can't simply trust them to act in students' best interests—we need to demand it."

    ► Leeway on Spending

    Officials in the Big Ten defend their use of the dollars, saying the NCAA allows institutions wide latitude in how they spend the money. They emphasize that the document, which was obtained through a public-records request, shows only a small fraction of the fund's usage.

    The report describes many payments flowing more directly to students. For example, the University of Nebraska dedicated $24,876 toward players' utility bills. The University of Minnesota spent $23,418 in part to send members of its football team to a funeral for a former teammate. And Penn State contributed $14,956 toward parents' travel costs when 14 of its students had surgery.

    Other institutions paid child-care costs, housing and travel expenses for study abroad, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses and dental work.

    The Big Ten is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the NCAA money. Last year its universities received more than $5-million from the program, and used about $4.7-million of the money, according to the league document.

    Over all, Big Ten programs spent about $1.5-million of their fund distributions on personal or family expenses, $1.4-million for player health and safety, $1.2-million on educational expenses and fees, and nearly $600,000 on academic or programming enhancements.

    Most Division I colleges spend a majority of their annual allotment, NCAA leaders say. If they don't, they risk losing part of their installment the next year (The association is not aware of any conference that has seen its funds reduced for that reason.)

    At the end of the 2011-12 academic year, Big Ten universities had a $2.1-million surplus of assistance-fund dollars—about 20 percent more than the previous year.

    That carry-over was a topic of discussion during an October meeting of Big Ten compliance officials, where institutions were encouraged to consider spending more of the money, Chad Hawley, the conference's associate commissioner of compliance, said in an interview.

    "What we've seen is we're rolling over quite a bit of money from year to year as a conference," he said. "Our message was just, 'The money's there. Use it.'"

    Iowa officials say they mistakenly accounted for part of their usage of the money. They reported spending $680 of assistance-fund dollars to shred documents, $2,144 to send an employee to Big Ten wrestling and track events and the 2012 NCAA wrestling championships, and $6,856 on displays for its athletics learning center and Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

    After realizing the error, the university used other funds to cover the expenses, said Fred Mims, an associate athletic director. Iowa spends a majority of its assistance-fund dollars on players' medical costs, emergency travel, and summer school, he said. "Most of it directly benefits students."

    ► Tournament Money

    The NCAA set up a version of the Student Assistance Fund in 1999, when it signed an 11-year, $6-billion contract with CBS to televise the Division I men's basketball tournament. The association distributes the money based on teams' performance in the tournament, as well as on the number of scholarships and sports offered in each league. Conferences whose teams accrue the most tournament wins over a rolling six-year period, and whose programs offer the most scholarships and sports, earn the biggest payouts.

    According to the NCAA, the Big Ten was one of five conferences in 2010-11 to receive at least $3-million from the fund. (The others were the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East, the Mid-American, and the Pacific-12.)

    Many Big Ten leaders see the fund as one of the NCAA's best programs.

    "It allows institutions to fulfill the unmet needs of student-athletes and helps us move quickly when family emergencies happen," said Doug Archie, associate athletic director for compliance at Ohio State. According to the league document, the Buckeyes spent $6,736 last year on 11 "emergency" trips for students, one of dozens of ways the university used the money.

    Ohio State officials say they have wrestled with how much to keep in their account. With more than 1,000 athletes at the university, the odds are good that at least some of them will be affected when events like natural disasters occur. For that reason, Mr. Archie said, the university likes to keep some money in reserve. (He didn't respond to an e-mail to clarify how much.)

    "When Katrina hit, we were able to use the fund to help a lot of student-athletes caught up with that," he said. "We try and hold some back because you never know when the next Katrina ... might happen and how that will affect your students."

    ► Insurance and Parking

    Years ago Ohio State surveyed its players to find out how they wanted the money spent. The top two responses: health insurance and parking.

    Ohio State now uses the fund to pay half the cost of its athletes' health insurance, Mr. Archie said. And last year the university bought parking permits for 126 students, the Big Ten document shows, for a total of $25,856.

    Over all, eight Big Ten institutions spent a reported $270,814 on player parking last year. The University of Wisconsin's bill: $114,811.

    NCAA Division I rules allow institutions to pay athletes' parking expenses only if they are associated with practice and competition. But athletes who have vehicles and have bought a campus parking permit may seek reimbursement through the NCAA's assistance fund.

    As much as that may help athletes, much of that money is ultimately going to the colleges—a fact that might not play well in the public's perception, some athletics officials realize. But given the rules they have to work with, they defend the practice.

    "I do see the point that you're essentially paying back the university," said Jamie Vaughn, associate athletic director for compliance at the University of Nebraska, which paid $27,237 for parking permits last year. "But at the end of the day, if we didn't do this, the students themselves or their families would have to come up with the money."

    http://chronicle.com/article/NCAA-Money-for-Student/136927/?key=HWp1JFNsbSNAZSoyZzxCaTYEaCZrM0JxYHFMOHl2blpWEw%3D%3D

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    Woody and Archie.................................. Alex being Alex, ....................................and Woody at Dennison

  • Not against NCAA rules. Unethical? Whatever, not even an issue, imo. Just pointless digging.