Not all college athletes' costs covered


Steve Chiotakis: So did you see the Duke/Butler men's college basketball championship game last night? Duke pulled it out in a squeaker. For some of the players on those and other teams, they're just squeaking by. A bill being introduced in California hopes to address that problem, as Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman reports.

Mitchell Hartman: March Madness is over, and all those student athletes will be back to lectures, study hall and paying the bills. Even those on full scholarship, says Ramogi Huma. He's president of the National College Players Association and a former linebacker at UCLA:

Ramogi Huma: You get a meal card and you get your housing taken care of. But for all the other expenses, you have no money at all.

In many cases, that includes cross-country travel to and from school -- and health insurance. A study by Huma's organization found the average Division I scholarship athlete spends more than $2,700 a year out-of-pocket.

Huma: I know a lot of regular students have much more debt than that. But in terms of athletes and what they're promised, if you were facing thousands of dollars in expenses that you had no idea were coming, it would be a definite hardship.

Tom Torlakson: Let's have it up front and clear and that the promises made are kept.

Tom Torlakson has been a high school track coach. Now he's a California state legislator. His new bill would require recruiters to disclose in writing what a full scholarship does and doesn't include. And what happens if the athlete gets sidelined.

Torlakson: For instance, if they got injured, are their medical expenses covered? Sometimes not. Are they allowed to continue, if they're injured so severely that they have to miss a season, does the scholarship, full-ride tuition, textbooks, room and board, continue or not?

A spokesman for the NCAA said legislation isn't needed because most recruiters are upfront about scholarship terms when they try to woo high school athletes and their families.

I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.
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I don't think anyone is or should be outraged. However, even though my daughter isn't a 4.0 student, she has studied hard enough to be accepted to a D-1 school and, in addition to studying, as put in many hours to develop her athletic skills. Our family does need this athletic scholarship so that we can continue to pay back loans on two previous children who have gone to college. Bottom line, for the sake of this subject, her scholarship is supposed to cover room & board. As an upper classman, she lives off-campus in a moderately priced duplex with 2 other students. Her scholarship is cut in half for both months of Dec & Jan and, though she does come home for abt 3 weeks, the RENT still must be paid. The scholarships should take into consideration contracts for living expenses.

I concur with the point Ms. Mullen made. Division I student athletes should be grateful that they get most of their educational expenses paid for while only having to take out minimal debt for other expenditures. These athletes should make sure that medical expenses are covered should they be injured while playing. The worry of paying off those bills is a concern with merit. The overall crux of this piece, however, will not garner much sympathy from the public.

You have got to be kidding me! We are being asked to be concerned and outraged that Division I athletes are required to personally cover upwards of $2700 per year for their often-squandered college educations?!? Meanwhile, although my high achieving, 4.0 GPA daughter has been offered academic scholarships at every college that has accepted her, even the most generous does not cover even half of the more than $200,000 bill we will be receiving for her undergraduate education!I guess all these years I should have been encouraging her to throw hoops rather than hitting the books! Boy, do we have our priorities wrong!!!!!!!

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