COLUMBIA, Mo. — We’re interrupting the Nick Saban-Jimbo Fisher verbal slap fight with your weekly peek behind the curtain in college sports.
These days, if you’re a Mizzou athlete, it’s worth getting A.Bs too.
Missouri is one of several Division I athletic departments that now rewards its athletes with financial incentives for meeting certain academic criteria, up to nearly $6,000 per year. This became possible last year when the Supreme Court ruled in Alston v. NCAA that universities could compensate athletes for their academic performance based on antitrust laws.
Unsurprisingly, with recruiting implications at stake, the Southeastern Conference jumped on board last fall when SEC campus leaders voted unanimously to give each school discretion over how it determines the criteria for academic bonuses and has allowed its members to award athletes up to $5,980 per year as well as other education-related benefits, including computers.
Mizzou was among the first schools in the country to take out its checkbook. For the fall 2021 semester, MU gave 406 of its 543 athletes an academic financial award, according to data obtained by the Post-Dispatch via an open records request. An 11-page document broke the payouts into four tiers, although the names of all athletes and their respective teams were redacted: 122 athletes received the Tier 1 award of $1,200; 108 athletes received the Tier 2 award of $2,000; 176 athletes received the Tier 3 award of $2,990; and 137 athletes received no awards. (If an athlete receives the Tier 3 award both semesters, this reaches the maximum NCAA award of $5,980.)
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For the semester, Mizzou’s academic bonuses totaled $872,800, a relative drop in the black-and-gold bucket for a department that last year spent more than $113 million, including $20 million just on salaries. coaches – and this year spent $6 million to buy out the rest of Cuonzo Martin’s contract.
In April, ESPN reported that academically eligible Mizzou athletes would receive $2,400 per year — that would be two semesters at Level 1 — but would need a 3.5 grade point average to receive the maximum payout.
Last fall, MU athletes posted a collective GPA of 3.22, the best in department history and the 10th straight term at 3.0 or better.
Mizzou is one of at least 10 of 14 SEC schools that distribute academic awards to athletes, according to reports from ESPN, Tuscaloosa News and Matt Brown’s “Extra Points” newsletter. Future SEC members Oklahoma and Texas are doing the same.
Add these academic rewards to the potential earnings for name, image and likeness endorsement deals that are now allowed in college sports and athletes finally have a place in line at the college sports ATM in the marketplace – although always far behind their coaches. As Brown’s newsletter pointed out, some Mizzou coaches, like their peers across the country, have incentive packages built into their contracts that earn them tens of thousands of dollars when their players reach certain academic benchmarks. . New men’s basketball coach Dennis Gates has a $50,000 academic bonus as part of his contract.
Anyone worried about the latest financial benefits for college athletes, consider this: The NCAA spent more than $52 million in legal fees last year, according to USA Today, as it fought its way to the Supreme Court to fight against this kind of university. achievement payouts – all amid the final days of the beloved amateur model of NCAA college athletics.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh helped dig the grave in his memorable concurring opinion, writing, “The NCAA business model would be downright illegal in almost every other industry in America. Not every restaurant in an area can band together to cut cook salaries on the theory that “customers prefer” to eat food from poorly paid cooks. Law firms cannot conspire to obtain the salaries of booth attorneys in the name of providing legal services for “love of the law”. Hospitals cannot agree to capping nurses’ incomes in order to create a “purer” form of patient care. News agencies cannot join forces to cut journalists’ salaries in order to preserve a “tradition” of public service journalism. Movie studios can’t agree to cut camera crew benefits in order to ignite a “spirit of amateurism” in Hollywood.
“Pricing work is pricing work.”
The NCAA Division I board made two major changes this week. First, for the next two years, football teams can sign more than the previous limit of 25 recruits per recruiting cycle as long as they meet the overall scholarship limit of 85 players. This decision was made to provide some relief from the list of teams affected by the one-time transfer exception as well as the extended years of eligibility that the NCAA has provided during the pandemic.
“Some schools hadn’t distributed all of their scholarships and felt constrained by the annual limit,” said West Virginia athletic director and Division I board chair Shane Lyons. “This temporary change provides schools with more flexibility and provides incoming and current student-athletes with the opportunity to receive assistance.”
Additionally, the NCAA has allowed conferences to eliminate football divisions and set their own rules for how they determine entrants to championship games. The Pac-12 quickly eliminated its divisions starting this season and will match the two teams with the best conference winning percentage in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
Will the SEC follow? First and foremost is the league’s programming model with future additions from Oklahoma and Texas. Expect plenty of conversations about the eight- or nine-game schedule at upcoming SEC meetings in Destin, Fla.
Three Reasons Mizzou Fans Should Celebrate Jack Abraham’s Engagement: 1. It has an unparalleled gaming experience. He’s attempted more than 10 times as many passes in FBS games (859) as Brady Cook, Tyler Macon and Sam Horn combined (82).
2. It was road tested in the SEC. Three of her Southern Miss starts were at Alabama, Auburn and Mississippi State. His team went 0-3 but he played well in the stretches.
3. Its depth accuracy and efficiency are very promising. In 2019, according to Pro Football Focus, his completion percentage on throws from 20 yards or more was 43.4% in 2019 and 46.7% in 2020, compared to former Mizzou QB Connor Bazelak, who achieved 28.0% in 2020 and 31.9% last year. In 2019, Abraham ranked 11th nationally in yards per attempt (16.1) on 20-yard passes — better than Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields and Justin Herbert.
Now, three reasons to worry: 1. He returned the ball – a lot. He threw 29 interceptions in 27 games at Southern Miss and fumbled 21 times.
2. He was sacked 56 times and threw 279 passes under pressure. Maybe that says more about Southern Miss blocking, but Abraham often found himself running from trouble. Eli Drinkwitz wants his quarterbacks to run for at least two first downs every game. At Southern Miss, Abraham made 36 first downs with his legs and only made 15 runs of 10 yards or more.
3. He hasn’t played in a game since Oct. 31, 2020, giving him all summer to knock off the rust.
Mizzou baseball started the last weekend of the regular season needing help slipping into the 12-team SEC Tournament, but Steve Bieser picked up an addition this week when Oklahoma infielder and former Vianney standout Brock Daniels announced he would transferred to United next season. … Former Mizzou and LSU goaltender Xavier Pinson is packing his bags for a trip out west and will transfer to New Mexico State, where he will join fellow Chicago native and former compatriot Tiger DaJuan Gordon through the transfer portal. … Two other deceased Tigers found new teams this week: Sean Durugordon at Austin Peay and Boogie Coleman at Ball State, where he played two seasons before coming to Mizzou last year. … It’s not too late for SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey to reorganize SEC football media days to ensure Saban and Fisher appear on the same day in Atlanta. For now, Saban is scheduled for Day 2 on July 19, with Fisher on Day 4. Mizzou’s Drinkwitz will appear on Day 1 (July 18) with LSU’s Brian Kelly and Ole Miss’s Lane Kiffin.