NEW YORK — NCAA President Mark Emmert is still determined to provide college athletes with $2,000 for expenses not covered by scholarships.
Convincing schools to go along with that might be as much about changing perceptions as changing the proposal.
In a surprise move last January, the Division I Board of Directors delayed implementing the stipends in the face of criticism from many colleges. The plan is still on hold, with a working group creating options that address the membership's concerns, but Emmert reiterated Wednesday his commitment to putting it into effect.
The stipends would help cover the full cost of attending college, which scholarships don't meet, providing money for expenses beyond tuition, room and board, books and fees.
The Board of Directors approved the rule in October 2011, but by late December, 160 schools had signed onto override legislation. That meant the change was suspended, and the board reconsidered it at the January meeting.
On Wednesday, Emmert sounded a bit chastened by the backlash. Asked about the plan being stayed, he replied, ‘Stayed' is the polite word; it kind of got crushed.
We didn't anticipate the reaction it provoked, Emmert said at the Intercollegiate Athletics Forum.
Schools worried about how the stipends would affect Title IX compliance and whether they'd be able to afford them. Emmert said one possibility was making them need-based — available to students who can't afford the various expenses that come with attending colleges, but less expensive for schools.