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Why Are Pell Grants Not Mentioned As A Way To Financially Assist College Football Players

There has been a lot of talk in the college football world with the latest buzz phrase: 'Full cost of attendance'. To cover the actual cost of attending college the idea of paying college football players has been brought up by the Big 10 and SEC. South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier went as far as proposing that coaches pay $300 a game to 70 athletes. That was a hollow gesture and will never pass.

If football players are to be paid there would be even a bigger divide between the AQ and non-AQ leagues that ultimately could cause a split and create a third division one football league.

Currently a full-ride scholarship covers tuition, books, a dorm room (or a check toward off-campus housing) and meals. That still leaves the athlete to cover the basic expenses of doing laundry, gas for one's car or extra school supplies that are not covered under a students textbook stipend.

First off, I am not sure why football players can not work at all. August through December or early January makes sense because of their busy football schedule, but what about from January through May. Athletes in other sports can get work study jobs where they can work a small amount  of hours. When I was at Iona College where I played water polo, and received a partial scholarship, I was allowed to work 10 hours a week on campus for some extra spending money. During the off-season the time commitment is much less for these football players and 10 hours a week is not too much to give up in exchange for some spending money.

When I was in school I was paid anywhere from $9-$12 an hour and that helped quite a bit. That equals out to be $360-480 to month and a work study job no taxes are taken out. So, that is a way to help the athlete during the off season to have extra cash, or they could take out Pell Grants.

A Pell Grant is free money from the government that any student-athlete can apply for and it is a need-based grant. When I went to college at both Iona College and later Utah I was able to qualify for a Pell Grant and while my family was not struggling by any means I was able to qualify for this type of aid. This notion about Pell Grants is something I have thought of in the past and did not think to write about until saw this article written by ESPN's Andrea Adelson on the subject:

The NCAA does have a fund available to students in need, where they can request extra money. Needy student-athletes also are eligible for Pell Grants up to $5,000. So if NCAA member institutions agree to increase scholarship dollars and FAU cannot afford the increase, it can direct its student-athletes to other means to get extra money.

The idea of Pell Grants have not been widely discussed as a way for football players to receive more money. I am not sure if it is not mentioned to players or what, but there is always seems to be a mention about a certain football player that came from a bad neighborhood, came from nothing, was raised by a single mother or their grandparents raised them; so it would seem that those particular football players would qualify for a Pell Grant.

Like I said above, if myself who came from a middle-class family growing up to receive that money then a good amount of football players could receive some extra free money from the government. This would solve some of the issues and we may see less student-athletes trading memorabilia for cash as what happened at Ohio State.

Florida Atlantic athletic director Craig Angelos was interviewed in the ESPN article and discusses how a bigger divide could happen if student-athletes are paid:

"If you're sitting in a conference that has a large television contract and extra money to assist with the student-athlete welfare issues, everyone would agree that's a good thing for student-athlete welfare. If you're in a conference that struggles to make ends meet, you agree with the idea conceptually but then the question becomes how are you going to fund that extra money across the board? It's no different than a lot of the issues we face with the AQs and the non-AQs and that is trying to keep up."

Not only a divide would be made between the AQ's and non-AQ's but there would also be a divide between AQ schools themselves. There are not many AQ schools that turn a profit, because not everyone brings in the money like Ohio State and Texas does.

With all the smart people out there looking into paying football players and adjusting the amount of a scholarship to cover the full cost of attendance, it is surprising that the notion of Pell Grants has not already been discussed as a way for players to receive extra money.

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