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How NCAA Athletes Are Spending Their Extra Stipends

For the first time this past school year, NCAA scholarship athletes received a cost-of-attendance stipend in addition to their scholarship.

In an extensive report on Sunday, The Kansas City Star caught up with a few scholarship athletes from the primary universities in its coverage area — Missouri, Kansas and Kansas State — to see how they spent their extra stipend.

Lindsey Cunningham, a senior-to-be on the Missouri women’s basketball team, invested her cost-of attendance money into mutual funds after researching some investment options.

“I come from a family where I’m just glad to be getting whatever I’m getting,” Cunningham told The Star. “Any increase would be great, but it wasn’t something that was going to impact me the way it impacts an entire family like for some student-athletes.”

Kansas basketball player Jamari Traylor is one student-athlete who used the extra stipend to help his family during his senior season, as he has done in previous years with his extra scholarship money. Traylor hinted that the NCAA could do more for student-athletes.

“We bring a lot of money (to the NCAA),” Traylor told The Star. “There’s a lot of money to be passed around out there. I was definitely happy about it and I’m not complaining or anything, but it’s a billion-dollar industry, right? When the tournament goes down and everything? I’m not complaining, but they could probably still make a couple more steps to help guys out.”

Brian Rohleder, who was put on scholarship for the first time during his senior season on the Kansas State basketball team, began paying off his student loans once he went on scholarship.

“Just one year of being off student loans and getting a little extra money was a big help,” Rohleder told The Star. “It is amazing. It can make a big difference in someone’s life.”

According to The Star’s report, schools in the Big 12 Conference, Southeastern Conference, Big Ten, Atlantic Coast and Pac-12 — known as the “power five” conferences — provided full cost of attendance to athletes in all of their sports. Athletes in those conferences who were on partial scholarships received a percentage of a stipend.

The total cost of the stipends was about $500,000 to $1.5 million per athletic department, according to The Star. Texas Tech had the highest cost-of-attendance stipend in the Big 12 at $4,820 per student-athlete. West Virginia had the lowest stipend in the Big 12 at $2,400 per resident athlete ($2,700 for nonresidents), according to the conference.

Tennessee had the highest cost-of-attendance stipend in the SEC at $5,666 per athlete while Texas A&M had the lowest stipend in the SEC at $3,528 per athlete, according to CBSSports.com.

Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger discussed how the extra stipend has impacted recruiting and the overall way of life for his school’s student-athletes in a video interview with The Star.

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