Athletic Director Ryan Bamford sat down with Director of Broadcasting/Hockey Play-By-Play Announcer Cody Chrusciel to discuss his first 100 days on the job. In the interview he broke the news that UMass will be providing Cost Of Attendance stipends as part of their scholarship packages for all of its student-athletes starting this year.
The school had previously announced it planned to provide the COA to the football and men’s and women’s basketball teams earlier in the year when the measure was beginning to be adopted by most of the NCAA “Power 5” Conference schools but said they would determine at a later date what to do with the other sports. Here’s the whole Bamford interview where he says the COA will amount to about $1,600 for each full scholarship athlete (with partial scholarship athletes provided with the same fractional amount in COA):
I think the question of whether this stipend should be provided to athletes is a moot point since this is how the college landscape is currently structured. For UMass hockey, this decision is a very good thing. Just yesterday I linked to a story from USCHO where they stated 22 of the 60 hockey schools had already decided to provide the COA (it’s unknown if UMass was one of those 22). Within Hockey East it was already expected/known that P5 schools Boston College and Notre Dame would be among the schools to provide the benefit to its hockey players. Boston University was expected to do the same. Maine on the other hand said they likely would not. At least they did back in June.
The bottom line is hockey recruiting is a cutthroat process and coaches will use any edge they can to beat out a competing school for a top player. UMass absolutely had to make sure its hockey coaching staff was able to be on a level playing field when meeting with a prospective player and selling the school and program. What I like about this decision is that UMass will cover ALL sports, not just the big three of football, basketball, and hockey. To me this is a sign that the school and the new AD are committed to making sure the entire department is set up for success. And that’s another good thing for UMass hockey.
Dan Malone has his coverage of the announcement for Masslive here.