Skip to main content

MAC cost-of-attendance estimate puts everything in perspective

MAC football

On Tuesday, Jon Solomon of had a story about the MAC and Boise State preparing to provide cost-of-attendance stipends for each of its scholarship athletes.

Commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher estimated the cost at $500,000 to $1 million annually per school. The league figures to pay for it from new money received via ESPN, either through the conference's new carriage deal with ESPN3 and/or through the MAC's cut of the College Football Playoff pie.

On the surface, $1 million sounds like an appropriately large number. Let's break it down further.

Most schools have between 300 and 600 athletes on scholarship. Let's cut it down the middle and say each MAC school will pay $750,000 split between 450 athletes. That's $1,667 per athlete.

Last week, Texas athletics director Steve Patterson revealed that Texas was preparing to provide each of its athletes with an additional $5,000 to cover coming cost-of-attendance expenses in the event that the NCAA's cost-of-attendance vote passes in January.

Makes sense, right? It costs more to go to school in downtown Austin, Texas, than Mount Pleasant, Michigan, Muncie, Indiana, or DeKalb, Illinois.

Now let's break it down even further.

Texas athletes will receive roughly $415 per month, MAC athletes are in line for.... $138 a month? Slide the MAC numbers apart in opposite direction - with $1 million a year split between 300 athletes - and now it rises to $277 per athlete per month.

Now take a couple step backs and really think about this. Isn't it amazing that it's taken lawsuits, billions of dollars in television contracts and immense public pressure to get athletes an extra couple hundred bucks a month?