Even in the presence of swirling story lines that seem destined to forever change the relationships between colleges and student-athletes, there remains some static at West Virginia University. More than two years ago, the athletic department began making budgetary plans to accommodate a $2,000 stipend for those on scholarship. The Mountaineers never stopped running the numbers.
As the NCAA’s plan went back them, that extra bit of money would account for the difference between what a scholarship provides and the true value of what it costs a student-athlete to live on campus. It was forward thinking encouraged by the NCAA’s then-bold move in October 2011 to allow the stipend. Before that Christmas, 160 schools voted to override the legislation, which was the first of a few defeats for the proposal.
The Mountaineers, though, were preparing for what they believed was inevitable, and they’ve revisited the topic again. It’d be silly not to because every available indication suggests anything or everything beneath the NCAA umbrella could change, whether it’s letting student-athletes form unions or treating those on scholarship as employees.