Colorado State University might have lost its beloved head football coach following the 2014 season, but what the school gained may just help the athletics program take a step forward.
Jim McElwain was hired away by the Florida Gators last December. Part of the deal included a $7 million buyout. Florida covered $3 million, McElwain forked over $2 million, and the remainder will come from a future football game.
Colorado State is receiving the largest buyout in college football history, and now the university knows how it will be allocated.
According to Coloradoan.com, the school announced on Wednesday that it will cover the cost-of-attendance for student-athletes on scholarship. Athletic director Joe Parker forecasts that McElwain’s buyout will fund this plan for the next three to five years.
Following are details on what cost-of-attendance stipends will include.
This stipend is in addition to athletic scholarships. It will provide an in-state student-athlete on full scholarship an extra $2,400 per year, and $3,100 per year for out-of-state athletes. Football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, volleyball and tennis are the full-scholarship sports at CSU. Sports that offer partial scholarships — soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s track and field, men’s and women’s golf, softball and swimming and diving — will receive a percentage of the cost-of-attendance stipend equal to the percentage of a full scholarship they receive.
Full scholarships cover tuition, books, fees and room and board. The cost-of-attendance stipend helps take care of expenses related to cellphones, laundry, school supplies and transportation.
In total, the stipend is expected to cost CSU $654,000 for its allotment of 214.1 scholarships.
The move by Colorado State is big for recruiting. The NCAA passed the cost-of-attendance stipend earlier this year, and not every school will, or be able to, offer it to prospective athletes.
“It’s definitely a topic of conversation that parents ask in the recruiting process. Even if they don’t fully understand what it encompasses, they’ve heard about it,” said assistant men’s basketball coach and lead recruiter Ross Hodge. “To be able to say ‘yes, we’re doing cost of attendance,’ doesn’t put you at a disadvantage where another school could do something for the student athlete that you can’t.
“It’s obviously a tremendous benefit in the recruiting process, but the most exciting part is that you get to take care of your own. You get to take care of your student-athletes once they get here and are already in the fold.”
It’s never easy for a smaller program to lose a coach like McElwain, but it might turn out to be a game-changer for the Rams.