FAU to increase athletes’ stipends starting next year

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FAU to increase athletes’ stipends starting next year

Athletic director Patrick Chun in a Dec. 9, 2014 press conference. Max Jackson | Staff Photographer

Athletic director Patrick Chun in a Dec. 9, 2014 press conference. Max Jackson | Staff Photographer

Athletic director Patrick Chun in a Dec. 9, 2014 press conference. Max Jackson | Staff Photographer

Athletic director Patrick Chun in a Dec. 9, 2014 press conference. Max Jackson | Staff Photographer

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Florida Atlantic University’s athletic department is hoping to deepen the pockets of its scholarship athletes this upcoming year.

FAU has announced plans to give more to its athletes by including a new cost of living stipend within scholarships, according to Owl Access. Doing so will increase the disposable income granted to each athlete currently attending the university on scholarship.

Representatives from the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 12 and the Southeastern Conference voted 79 to 1 last weekend to begin including the extra benefits for Division I scholarship athletes starting Fall 2015. Details of the meeting can be found in this USA Today article.

This will expand what schools can provide to their players who are currently on scholarship. Incidental costs of attending school like transportation and living expenses will now be covered under new guidelines.

Traditional costs like tuition, board, books and other fees will continue to be covered under general standards.

Smaller conferences, such as Conference USA, will allow its member schools to decide if they will include the stipends within their scholarships.

The maximum amount each school can distribute is determined based on the region’s average cost of living. FAU athletic director Pat Chun said the school would like to provide its athletes with the maximum amount, about $4,650 per year. The athletic department has yet to decide if this is possible, as they continue to work out the budget for the 2015-16 academic year.

FAU is currently funding 200 scholarships and can offer a maximum of 240.5. If chosen to add the stipend, it would cost the athletic department a total of nearly $1 million.

Adding the extra stipends for FAU athletes would be important especially while living in a city such as Boca Raton, where the cost of living is 28.2 percent greater than the national average.

“This is where college athletics is headed, and the league has always been fully supportive of all cost of attendance measures,” Chun said.

“It [the stipend increase] is the right thing to do, and it does not obviously violate the principles of the collegiate model,” said C-USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky at C-USA Media Day.