St. Cloud State to pay total cost of attendance for hockey players

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St. Cloud State University is the latest school putting plans together to pay for the total cost of attendance for their NCAA Division I men's and women's hockey players.

The university plans to begin the practice in the fall of 2016.

The NCAA has approved allowing schools to pay the "cost of attendance" to prospective student athletes who participate in Division I sports. That means schools can now offer scholarships that cover costs beyond the usual tuition, fees, books, room and board. Under the new "cost of attendance" scholarships things like travel expenses and additional food would also be included.

"It was pushed by a number of lawsuits toward the NCAA, particularly in the revenue programs of the BCS (in football), with the thought there is great profit being made off of the backs of student athletes and some multimillion-dollar (annual salary) coaches," St. Cloud State athletic director Heather Weems told the St. Cloud Times. "With what people believe is inequitable treatment, student athletes began a push with some lawsuits."

Each school will figure the "cost of attendance" on their own, which is estimated to be between $2,000-$7,000. According to the St. Cloud Times, Weems estimates total cost at SCSU to be between $2,500 and $3,000 – which is still a hefty bite for a university facing a $9.5 million general fund deficit.

The policy would only effect St. Cloud State's hockey programs, the school's other sports play at the Division II legel, where "cost of attendance" has not been approved.

"We have committed to hockey at a high level for many years and we remain committed to that," Weems told the Times. "So we will need to be creative and thoughtful in how we are going to fund this."

North Dakota State and the University of North Dakota have also announced similar plans.

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