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Are schools covering the Final Four travel tab for player’s families?

Mark Emmert

NCAA President Mark Emmert delivers his State of the Association speech during the NCAA’s annual convention on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)


Marc Isenberg of Money Players Blog fame landed himself a nice little scoop on Monday.

According to a parent of a player in the Final Four, the school would be allowed to pick up the tab for the hotel room for the players taking part in the game. A member of the school’s athletic department confirmed it, saying that the decision came down from the conference and that all four schools would be doing the same.

That’s great news.

If you’ve never been to the Final Four, than you may not know just how expensive plane tickets and hotel rooms are. The folks running those businesses aren’t fools. The price of hotels and flights, which are rarely cheap to begin with, go through the roof during Final Four weekend. For the players that come from low-income households, that’s a very difficult thing to budget and an even more difficult thing to justify missing. How many parents are willing to skip out on seeing their son play in the Final Four?

With the $771 million the NCAA brings with the tournament’s television deal, it’s only right.

The problem?

According to the NCAA, it’s still wrong.

When I asked Ronnie Ramos, NCAA Managing Dir. of Digital Communications, he said, “Schools can reserve rooms at discounted rates, but not pay.” Wow.

The NCAA is publicly denying that they are giving college basketball players an extra benefit. That’s rich.