College Football Playoff to help pay for parents’ travel expenses
The College Football Playoff and the NCAA announced Tuesday that they will provide financial assistance to cover travel expenses for the families of athletes participating in the upcoming CFP national title game and the Final Fours of the NCAA Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.
For next week’s football title game, the family of each participating player will be able to have two parents or legal guardians attend, with up to $1,250 in travel reimbursement and meal expenses covered for each parent or guardian, the CFP said in a statement.
Ohio State athletics director Gene Smith said during an interview in Columbus that he worked with Oregon AD Rob Mullens, Big Ten Conference commissioner Jim Delany, Pacific-12 commissioner Larry Scott, the CFP and the NCAA to make the pilot program possible.
“The NCAA found a way to make this happen,” Smith said. “I really appreciate it.”
Before the start of the current football bowl season, Smith and Kansas State AD John Currie told USA TODAY Sports they would like to see some type of travel stipend for the families of football players participating in the playoff.
The NCAA’s release said the association will allow the CFP to provide up to $3,000 in travel expenses for families of each competing athlete. CFP executive director Bill Hancock indicated via e-mail Tuesday evening that CFP had not been expecting NCAA officials to allow it to provide that much, and that the CFP’s limit will be re-examined.
“When we made our decision,” Hancock said, “we did not know the NCAA limit — and we knew this would be subject to the rules that the NCAA ultimately determined. … We thought the NCAA limit would be closer to $2,500 and we checked with the people at Oregon about the likely costs. Now that we know the NCAA limit, I’m sure the management committee and board of managers will look at that issue as we all continue to work through the details. … The bottom line is that this is a really good decision for the student-athletes and their families.”
Ohio State receiver Evan Spencer applauded the news.
“It’s going to be much needed for some families,” he said. “I think some kind of money is needed. There’s obviously families that struggle to come up with the money that’s needed to go to New Orleans and then to fly back and then to fly to Dallas. Obviously you can’t plan for both. You’ve still got to go win the game or whatever. I think that it’s good that the parents are getting something.”
Urban Meyer, who was in the middle of a news conference when told of the announcement, said, “That’s the best news I’ve heard. That’s great news.”
For the Final Fours, the NCAA said it will pay up to $3,000 in travel, hotel and meal expenses for family members of athletes who play in the national semifinals but not the final. The NCAA will pay up to $4,000 in expenses for families of each athlete playing in a championship game.
Mark Lewis, NCAA executive vice president of championships and alliances, said the NCAA based its expense maximums on $300 per night for hotel, $200 per day for meals and incidentals and $1,500 for airfare. He said those figures were arrived at following research by association staff into the costs for travel to this season’s Final Four sites — Indianapolis for the men, Tampa for the women.
He said that the figures could change in future years, depending on sites and local and national cost trends. He also pointed that this is a pilot program and could be subject to legislative change by the member schools. And for now the pilot program applies only to football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball.
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