The NCAA redefined athletic scholarships in the past year, providing athletes with a “cost-of-attendance” stipend that gives them a small amount of money that doesn’t go directly towards school-related costs like tuition and board.
With the newfound pocket money in players’ pockets, Virginia Tech’s football program apparently wanted to institute a program where they would levy fines against players for several different offenses.
Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster first alerted media members to it on Tuesday (via Deadspin’s Kevin Draper):
On Thursday, images of a television monitor in the players’ lounge surfaced, detailing the outrageous things players could get fined for. The penalties ranged from $US10 for missing breakfast, to $US30-45 for missing class, to $US50 for a dirty locker or dorm room (via Richmond Times-Dispatch):
According to Mike Barber of Richmond Times-Dispatch, a second TV monitor showed the penalties for improper equipment, which ranged from $US100 and four tickets to a game for the first offence, to $US400 and four tickets to the next four games for the fourth offence.
A third screen had a list of players who’d been punished, with details of what rule they broke, what they were fined, and the date it occurred. Barber reports the screen showed five players being fined a total of $US330.
Virginia Tech athletic director Whit Babcock claims he had no idea of the plan or practice, saying:
“I had no idea of any of it. Have addressed and will further. It has been discontinued 100 per cent. … I don’t know of any past practice and I didn’t know about this today either. Again, has been addressed and will be further. All of it discontinued immediately.”
Babcock told Andy Bitter of the Roanoke Times on Wednesday:
“So what I’ve done, I’ve met with coach Beamer, John Ballein and coach Foster. We talked about it. There has been in place for a number of years, not to this extent, but for a number of years, a little bit of a, and I hate to use the word, but I can’t use another one, but a fine system, disciplinary for our players and such. And I think it’s come out of bowl type stuff. So I was not aware that we were doing that. It’s not against NCAA rules. It’s probably more prevalent than people think, but I was not aware of it. So I got up to speed on that. I got up to speed on the fact that certainly anything out of cost of attendance would not be permissible and I shut it all down.”
We’ve reached out to the school’s athletic department and will update this post when we hear back.
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