The jockocracy expands its reign, as the University of South Dakota seeks to expropriate another three quarters of a million dollars of the common wealth to pay young people for our gladiatorial entertainment. USD President Jim Abbott says USD just has to pay its scholarship athletes an additional “cost of attendance” stipend, not to enhance educational achievement, not to improve graduation rates, not to meet state workforce needs, but just to ensure closer games against its chosen Division I opponents:
“It seems to be a necessary move to meet the competition,” Abbott told the Press & Dakotan on Friday, hours after USD announced it will provide cost of attendance stipends in all 17 sports beginning with the 2016-17 season.
The additional aid for Coyote student-athletes is a sign, the president said, that USD is committed to succeeding at the D-I level.
“I don’t see much point going into a machine gun fight with a bow and arrow,” Abbott said. “If it’s a machine gun fight, you want to be able to be equal to the competition” [Jeremy Hoeck, “Abbott: Cost of Attendance a ‘Necessary Move’ at USD,” Yankton Press & Dakotan, 2015.09.05].
Abbott says these stipends—perhaps as much as $775K each year—will be covered by donations. But remember: every dollar the university solicits and spends on helping jocks buy their clothes and snacks and gasoline is a dollar the university could have spent on classrooms, professor pay, career services, and tuition reductions that would directly benefit every student on campus.
Every dollar USD puts into these stipends should also be taxable income. Athletic scholarships already cover everything that students (or their parents) can claim as qualifying educational expenses. The $4,145 that USD athletic director David Herbster says the cost-of-attendance stipends will be worth will go right on top of whatever students or their parents have on Line 37 of their 1040, adjusted gross income. For a married couple still claiming their 20-year-old USD athlete and making near South Dakota’s median household income of $50K, that additional $4,145 stipend would likely be taxed at 15%, adding $622 to their tax liability.