Assistant Football Coach Brian Polian spoke to a gathering at the recent ND Reunion...

Among his remarks was a discussion about the NCAA Room & Board stipend rules for Grant in Aid Athletes.

Each college has a “value” for its annual Room & Board cost, which is pegged at $15,000 for ND.  Like all colleges, ND is permitted to give each scholarship athlete $250.00 per month for incidentals.  We require them to live on campus for three years.  ND athletes on Grants in Aid who choose to live off campus their senior year get the $15,000 and the monthly stipend, for a total of $18,000 a year. 

I investigated this many years ago when I first learned that USC recruits were shown beach condos, while ND’s recruits were shown an ND Dorm Room.  Using today’s numbers, imagine four (4) players from the inner city (who have not seen a lot of money in their lives) going on a visit to ND and then USC.  At ND, they are shown a room in Dillon Hall and sold on the camaraderie and dorm spirit.  At USC, they are taken to a condo at the beach or another glamorous off-campus pad.  With a $72,000 annual budget, they can live like kings.  And, there are plenty of coeds willing to come cook a meal each night.  This is why ND gets kids who take a long-term view, but will always have a tough time with a certain demographic and this has ZERO to do with anything ND can control.

So, ND has to decide whether we want to continue to be the ND that we all know, or if we want to reduce the on-campus requirement in order to aid recruiting.  I personally would not make the change.  It won’t add one player and it will completely change what ND has always been about.

The entrepreneurial side of me sees a great opportunity for folks at places like SC.  What if 20 incoming recruits were organized into a corporation by a real estate entrepreneur or a family member with that expertise?  What if he told them if they each kicked in $12,000 (leaving $500/month for grub), they could use this $240,000 as the down-payment on some kind of housing (either a small condo complex or refurbished old building/small motel---the kind you see on the FLIPPING shows on HGTV)?  Now they not only have suitable housing, but each of them is building equity and learning entrepreneurship.  After departing SC, they can rent to future recruits or other students.  They can also major in some kind of business program, in which they will be highly motivated in their classes on accounting, taxes, insurance, marketing, and management.  Now THAT would be a big recruiting edge!  

Happy Father’s Day and Go Irish!


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