When Barry Alvarez attended Nebraska and played football back in the late 1960s, his full scholarship included a monthly stipend of $15 designed to pay for things beyond room, board, books and tuition.
"That $15 was pretty damn important to me back then,'' he said, recalling that he spent most of it a "social life.''
That memory came to life to this week when Alvarez, now the University of Wisconsin athletic director, listened with surprise as Big Ten Conference commissioner Jim Delany broached the topic of augmenting athletic scholarships during a meeting in Chicago.
A full tender still covers the basics — room, board, books and tuition — but research suggests there is roughly a $3,000 gap between that value and the actual cost of attendance, which includes travel, clothing and living expense.
Delany threw open the door of discussion to student-athletes receiving the full cost of attendance, not just in the Big Ten, but throughout the NCAA. Alvarez isn't gung-ho about the initiative, but he is definitely OK with it.
"Whatever you can do for (student-athletes), you do it. I'm for that,'' Alvarez said Friday. "But you still have to make it work financially. I think there are a lot out there, a lot to be discussed.''
First off, where would the extra money come from? Would it be the school, the conference or the NCAA?
Secondly, which student-athletes would receive the stipend? Do you limit it to those on full scholarship, men and women, or you do it with just your revenue-generating sports?
UW currently funds just over 300 scholarships for 23 sports (11 men, 12 women). If everyone receiving grant-in-aid gets a piece of the pie, however small, that works out to approximately $900,000 per year.
If the extra money is limited to revenue-generating sports — which is highly unlikely because it would exclude almost every woman's program and would likely lead to Title IX-related lawsuits — UW would need an additional $348,000 per year for football (85 scholarships), men's basketball (13 scholarships) and men's hockey (18 scholarships).
Alvarez noted that only a handful of NCAA Division I athletic departments operate in the black — his is one of them — and guessed that there would be a distinct reaction from both sides of the fence.
"The ones that make money would love to do it,'' he said. "The ones that are struggling (would) say, ‘Where do we get the money?' ''
Alvarez, a Hall of Famer who coached the Badgers football team for 16 seasons, was asked if he would push for the stipend.
"I don't know that we need it,'' he said. "I think the scholarship is fair in exchange for an education and exposure and the development of a person.
"But if it's decided that you give them a stipend, that's fine with me. I have no problem with that.''
It will be interesting to see how this turns out. GO BUCKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
After the breakout successes of Montee Ball and James White complemented John Clay to give the Wisconsin Badgers one of the most talented running back trios in the nation last season, Zach Brown seemed to be left behind.
Now, Brown will look for more playing time elsewhere this fall after deciding to transfer from UW, head coach Bret Bielema announced Tuesday. Brown is scheduled to graduate in August, which would keep him eligible to play for another Division I program in the fall. His departure also brings the Badgers’ scholarship number down to the required 85.
“We would like to thank Zach for all his contributions over the last four years,” Bielema said. “He decided it was in his best interests to explore his transfer options. Because he has taken care of his business academically, he has the chance to go somewhere and play right away. He is a great person and player and has handled himself the right way throughout his four years at Wisconsin. We wish him the best of luck in his future.”
In three years as a Badger, Brown rushed for 1,152 and 11 touchdowns on 240 carries (4.8 yards per). The Palm Beach, Fla., native rushed for 568 yards on 119 his freshman year (250 came in one game), but he gained only 305 on 55 carries his sophomore year. As a junior, Brown rushed for 279 yards on 66 attempts, leaving him third on the team behind Ball and Clay. Brown redshirted last season, while White, Clay and Ball combined for 3,060 yards.
“I’d like to thank my coaches, teammates and all the Badger fans for the last four years,” Brown said. “I’ve had a great experience at the University of Wisconsin but just felt it was in my best interests to explore other options.”
It is sad to see a quality player transfer away from Wisconsin. GO BUCKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The University of Wisconsin athletic department contributed about $50,000 to the School of Nursing building project with funds generated from ticket sales at the spring football game.
But that was only part of the story.
School of Nursing dean Katharyn May believes a $1 million donation received about three weeks prior to the spring game probably would not have happened without the affiliation with the football program.
"I am absolutely convinced that gift would not have happened without the enthusiasm and momentum, if you will, leading up to the spring game," May said Monday.
Fans were charged $5 for admission to the spring game, which had been free in past years. The official crowd was a disappointing 11,169, though UW athletic director Barry Alvarez remains committed to using the game as a fundraiser for campus projects.
Proceeds from next year's game will go to the Human Ecology department.
"It was a message we wanted to send, that we want to support (the) campus, that we wanted to bring attention to your program," Alvarez told May.
"We're very pleased with the turnout, we're very pleased with the fact you're happy with it. It was a win-win situation. That's what it's all about."
With the help of the $1 million donation, May said the building project is within $3 million of its fundraising goal, meaning construction on the School of Nursing's new home will start a year from now.
It is great to see how Badger Football affects the whole university. GO BUCKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!