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NCAA Tables Extra Scholarship Money for Athletes Until January

Remember yesterday, when I wrote that 97 schools had signed on to a petition aiming to override the NCAA's new rule, which allowed schools to provide up to $2,000 in extra scholarship money to student-athletes?

Consider that rule officially suspended until January, the NCAA announced yesterday.

In the words of Anchorman's Ron Burgundy: "Boy, that escalated quickly."

It's rare that universities override NCAA legislation, David Berst, NCAA vice president for Division I, told Christine Brennan from USA Today. The NCAA typically introduces around 100 new pieces of legislation each year, and only one or two get overridden, Berst estimated.

Most objections to the new rule fell into one of four categories, according to the announcement from the NCAA. Schools were concerned with how quickly the legislation had been implemented (after being concocted at a presidents' retreat in August, it was approved in late October); the "perceived impact on competitive equity" that the rule could have; Title IX compliance, and how the rule would apply to student-athletes in sports that don't necessarily provide full scholarships.

"Based on conversations I have had, I am confident that there remains a very high level of support for this permissive legislation to provide better support for our student-athletes," NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement.

In Brennan's column, she expressed little surprise that the measure was tabled, writing, "The last thing college athletic departments need at the moment, in the midst of the most scandal-ridden time in college sports history, is to be told they should spend more money on athletics."

She also notes that some of the opposition to the measure could stem from the fact that only 22 of the 300+ Division I athletic departments turned a profit in fiscal 2010, according to NCAA figures.

What's Next for the Stipend?

When the Division I board of directors meets in Indianapolis on Jan. 14, it'll have three options:

• Do nothing, keeping the suspension in place until an override vote occurs.

• Eliminate the rule.

• Make changes to the rule, which would create new legislation subject to a 60-day override period.

While the NCAA's announcement doesn't give any indication on what direction the board may lean, Emmert's comments certainly may. If he believes that there's still "a very high level of support" for the rule, it seems unlikely that the board would eliminate it entirely without attempting to make any changes.

Suffice it to say, I'll be following the mid-January meeting of the board of directors very closely. High school student-athletes hoping to carry their athletic careers into college should, too.

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