Division I Council Vice Chairman and MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said in the NCAA’s statement on the matter, “These requirements will directly benefit college athletes competing in Division I sports by requiring significant investment in scholarship opportunities. Over the past several years, the NCAA’s collected data about spending at FBS schools indicate that these requirements are reasonable and attainable for the majority of impacted athletics programs.”
What that means for HBCUs is that the game that stakeholders have been begging our schools to play is officially out of reach. As more than a handful of HBCU FBS schools are not clearing 5 million dollars in net with their current athletic budgets, the pipe dream of competing among the likes of Alabama, USC, Ohio State, Georgia, and many others is just that – a dream.
This fee increase also will likely widen the gap between mid-major D-1 and Power 5s that were incrementally closing for a brief period during and post-pandemic.
This also likely means that more than a few recently transitioning or transitioned FBS schools will be taking a hard look at their bottom lines and deciding whether to continue competing with an endless array of boosters, donors, and NIL collectives or returning to FCS where the money is a bit more manageable.
That could also have an impact on HBCU athletics because if FCS and the mid-major landscape become crowded, that means more than a few schools will start losing out on athletes they were once able to recruit and retain.
For example, if Old Dominion decides to return to FCS, that automatically makes the Tidewater area that much less fertile ground for Hampton and Norfolk State, considering William & Mary has already had quite the head start in that area.
Conversely, if the University of Delaware decides it’s full steam ahead in leaving the Coastal Athletic Association for a Power 5/FBS-level school, Delaware State becomes even less of a factor in the minds of local athletes – or should I say, their parents and trainers who believe DSU isn’t good enough for anyone. But that’s another story for another day.
If that trickle-down effect were to happen nationwide, rest assured that several Division I HBCUs would also have to consider the weight and the cost of trying to contend with schools with deeper pockets and a generational head start brought on by systemic racism and malicious underfunding. Would those schools move to Division II? Division III? Cut athletics entirely?
All those options could possibly be on the table for HBCUs – a table that is rapidly being stocked to serve only those who can afford to pay while the rest of college sports in America fights for the leftovers.
The Celebration Bowl champion Florida A&M Rattlers have added a transfer from the College Football Playoff champions. Graduate transfer Jerome Nichols, a Michigan linebacker, announced his commitment to...