Miami Hurricanes one of 22 FBS schools with academic bonus payments plans

Jan 22, 2022; Coral Gables, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 22, 2022; Coral Gables, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami Hurricanes athletic department is one of “The 22 NCAA FBS-level schools out of 130 that say they have plans in place to provide academic bonus payments — up to $5,980 — to their athletes this year.” The plan was “according to information gathered by ESPN in the past several months.”

Dan Murphy of ESPN reported on the incentive plan on Wednesday. The NCAA changed its rules to allow schools to play each athlete up to $5,980 per year to reward academic performance. A federal judge’s mandate preceded the rule. The reward was a result of a calculation made during legal proceedings.

Murphy reported on Wednesday “the oddly specific dollar amount was calculated during the legal proceedings because it is equal to the maximum amount of financial value an athlete can receive in one year from awards related to their athletic performance, such as conference player of the year titles or the Heisman Trophy.”

The Supreme Court upheld the ruling by the federal judge in a 9-0 ruling in the NCAA versus Alston ruling last year. Supreme court justice Neil Gorsuch upheld the decision by the district court judge stating the NCAA violated antitrust laws placing limits on education-related benefits schools can provide to athletes.

Connecticut is the only one of the 22 schools not in a Power Five conference for Football. The Huskies play in the Big East for basketball and are independent for football. Clemson and North Carolina are the only ACC programs among the 22 schools. Florida is also included. Nine of the schools are in the SEC.

Oklahoma and Texas which are projected to join the SEC officially in 2025 are also among the 22 schools. Wisconsin is surprisingly the only Big 10 school in the 22 who have a plan to reward athletes for academic performance. Attorney Jeffery Kessler told ESPN COVID slowed schools instituting rewarding academic performance.

Most schools estimate they will need to reserve between $2 million and $3 million each year to pay bonuses to their athletes” according to Murphy. Murphy also reported that most schools surveyed had the expectation that the athletes stay academically eligible and have a clean disciplinary record to receive incentives.

The payments for academic performance according to Murphy were as varied as the Name, Image and Likeness deals that athletes are now eligible to receive. Murphy provided multiple examples of what schools are doing nationally. The Miami Hurricanes athletic department plans were not mentioned.

The attorney also told Murphy that programs are being forced to make decisions like other independent businesses nationally as opposed to being a part of the NCAA. Schools previously were able to make budgetary decisions about their athletic departments, coaching hires and facility upgrades.

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College athletic programs will adapt to rewarding athletes for academic performance as they have with NIL. The Miami Hurricanes athletic department is the only private school among the 22 listed committed to rewarding academic performance. Miami does not have to release the same information that public schools do.