Stipends for college athletes

Tulsa World, Tulsa, Okla. There always has been and likely always will be an unfair advantage held by the big college football conferences over their smaller brethren. It’s a matter of money, prestige and clout.

Now the five power conferences — Big 12, Big 10, Pac 12, Atlantic Coast and the Southeastern — are seeking a way to provide more financial support for their athletes.

The smaller conferences are resisting. There are 340 schools in Division 1. Only 120 of those are in the top Football Bowl Subdivision and only 65 are in the big five.

The power conferences want more flexibility in providing financial support to their athletes. The opposition argument is that athletes already are receiving a free education through their scholarships that are worth thousands of dollars.

That’s true. But difficult and sometimes unreasonable NCAA rules restrict gifts and stipends to athletes.

College is expensive, and even with a scholarship, students need money for incidentals — gasoline, car payments and insurance, for example. Students who aren’t playing sports have more available time to work part-time jobs to pay for such incidentals because they aren’t tied up by consuming training schedules.

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