Manhattan College Basketball Athletes to Receive Additional Benefits in 2016

Manhattan College will allow its men and women basketball student-athletes to receive the full cost of attendance starting in 2016. The decision, enabled by a federal lawsuit ruling against the NCAA, is estimated to be a 3 percent increase on basketball funding.

Ed O’Bannon, a former UCLA men’s basketball player, sued the NCAA in an antitrust class-action lawsuit for using his name, image and likeness in broadcasts and video games without his consent or payment. The court ruled in favor of O’Bannon, which will significantly increase the amount of funding Manhattan College and other Division I schools can pay for its basketball and football teams.

One outcome of the court’s ruling will give Division I schools the option to pay for the full cost of attendance, opposed to the full grant-in-aid, for its basketball and football athletes. The additional cost covers an athlete’s tuition, fees, travel, supplies and other educational expenses. The estimated cost is about an extra $3,500 per Manhattan College athlete annually, Athletic Director Noah LeFevre said at the Manhattan College Senate Meeting on Oct. 21.

The school is preparing to grant the full cost of attendance for its 28 men and women’s basketball scholarship athletes, LeFevre said. The total cost will be approximately $98,000 a year, starting in September 2016.

“We’re going to do what’s reasonable because these sports have been important to us for exposure and getting our school’s name out there,” Richard Satterlee, the vice president for student life, said at the meeting.

The other outcome of the court’s ruling will give Division I schools the option to set up a trust fund for its basketball and football student-athletes starting in September 2016. The NCAA will have the option to cap the amount of money an athlete can receive, but the court set a cap minimum for $5,000 per athlete annually.

It is unclear whether the trust fund will be linked to graduation, but Manhattan College will wait to see what other schools in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference do before considering the idea, LeFevre said.

“Generally how these things work out is everybody kind of sits around and watches what everybody else is doing and then at some point, somebody gets up and dances,” LeFevre said at the Manhattan College Senate meeting on Oct. 21. “Then once one person gets up and on the dance floor, it makes it easier for everybody else. But our intent will be to sit on our hands until we see what everyone else is doing.”

Graphic by Chris Cirillo
Chart by Chris Cirillo

Manhattan College spent $3.1 million on its basketball program and $7.8 million on the whole athletic program in the 2012-2013 academic year, according to the most recent reports filed with the U.S. Department of Education. The additional $98,000 will be about a 1 percent increase on the total athletic budget.

The $1.7 million Manhattan College spent on its men’s basketball program in the 2012-2013 academic year was the sixth highest expenditure in the MAAC – which did not include newcomers Quinnipiac and Monmouth – while the $1.3 million spent on the women’s basketball program was the eighth highest expenditure in the MAAC, according to the reports.

“You’re talking about a significant amount of money when you’re talking about the men and women’s basketball teams,” LeFevre said.