NCAA pay reaches UNM, NMSU - Albuquerque Journal

NCAA pay reaches UNM, NMSU

In a break from the norm over the past few weeks, the bank accounts for the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State athletics departments grew this week.

But the Lobos and Aggies can’t spend the money just yet.

Each school received deposits from the NCAA as part of a one-time distribution of money from the liquidation of an endowment overseen by the governing body of most of the country’s collegiate sports.

The money to be distributed, which ranges from $165,317 for Davidson College to $1.3 million for Ohio State, was primarily based on a formula of how many athletic scholarships the nearly 350 qualifying Division I universities gave out during the 2013-14 academic year. The larger the program, and more kids on athletic scholarship, the more money they receive.

UNM received $776,524. NMSU received $734,561.

The money must go toward “the direct benefit of the student-athlete” by way of initiatives that improve their academic welfare or health, according to the NCAA. And, in an effort to ensure that happens, the NCAA requires a full proposal from each school in advance of spending the funds.

The money technically cannot be used for such things as stadium upgrades or coaches’ salaries.

Of course money usually used for such things as summer school or other student welfare initiatives can be moved around to other areas of an athletic department’s budget. But the NCAA wants to oversee that at least this money goes directly to its intended target.

“We did receive the distribution,” UNM athletic director Paul Krebs told the Journal on Wednesday in an email. “Per NCAA guidelines the money must be used to directly support student-athletes through academic support, life skills, and career success programs, student athlete diversity and inclusion initiatives, and student-athlete health and wellbeing. A written plan must be submitted for approval by the NCAA before the money can be spent. We plan to submit our plan in the near future.”

In March, Krebs said because of UNM’s financial situation, at least the “vast majority” and perhaps all of the money will be spent this fiscal year, most likely on summer school costs for student-athletes.

NMSU, meanwhile, said it may try to distribute some of the funds over a three-year period. Still, like UNM, it doesn’t have a final decision made on how it will spend all the funds.

“The actual approval on our plan is not until May,” said Braun Cartwright, NMSU deputy athletic director/chief operating officer. “Our proposal included the three areas I mentioned (in March, which were sports medicine, nutrition and summer school), but we also included new equipment (computers) for our academic center.”

UNM’s payout is the third highest in the 11-member Mountain West Conference, trailing San Diego State ($887,272) and UNLV ($778,465). NMSU’s payout is easily the highest in the WAC. It also is the highest in the Sun Belt, the conference in which NMSU plays football until the end of the 2017 season, when it will become a football independent.

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