Athletes Support Bates’ Decision To Vote Against NCAA Proposal

Turns out, the students and the administrators are on the same page.

On Wednesday, Collin Fedor, president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) spoke in an exclusive interview about the Boston College Athletic Department’s reasoning behind disapproving of the NCAA’s motion to enact full cost-of-attendance scholarships for student-athletes.

The measure, voted on by the 65 Power Five Conference (Pacific-12, Big XII, Big Ten, Atlantic Coast, and Southeastern) schools and 15 student-athletes, passed two weeks ago by a count of 79-1, with BC as the sole dissenter. Although director of athletics Brad Bates announced last week that BC will comply with the decision, he still has been vocal about the department’s rationale behind voting against it.

Fedor, a member of the varsity track team and A&S ‘15, commented on behalf of SAAC on cost-of-attendance and the athletic department.

“The general consensus is we agree with the way BC voted,” Fedor said. He confirmed that Bates requested SAAC’s input prior to the decision, and that the committee had lengthy discussions about the measure before Bates put in the vote.

Fedor stressed that college sports should not exist for the purpose of making money, and that focusing on the cost-of-attendance motion as an emphasis for athletic departments strays from the purpose of college sports.

“Colleges are here to form young minds, and athletics is one avenue of that,” Fedor said. “Part of what BC prides itself on is it has a huge athletics department—750 student-athletes, which is one of the biggest in the country.

“It provides those opportunities consistent with Jesuit ideas of the University as a whole, because you learn the teamwork, and the hard work, and the ethics that are really important for the formation of a person. That’s what we saw as the purpose of college athletics.”

Fedor believes that the money allocated for full cost-of-attendance scholarships would be better served elsewhere in the athletics department, such as to provide opportunities for sports that may not get as much attention as the profit sports.

He recognized that recruiting will grow more difficult for BC after standing alone in voting against the measure. “You have to think of it in terms of the cost-of-attendance is also smaller for BC compared to a lot of other schools, so that is going to potentially hurt us in recruiting also, because we’re going to be living by these guidelines,” Fedor said.

Fedor conceded, however, that by sticking to its principles, BC may get a boost in recruiting.

SAAC advocates for student-athlete welfare on campus, and features a 15 student-athlete primary board, with representatives voted on by the entire student-athlete body, which sets the agenda for the organization. Once a month, SAAC meets with all of student-athletes to receive their input on various measures or to develop other skills, such as nutritional information or self-defense classes. The recent work of SAAC includes installing healthy-choice vending machines in the athletics center and pushing back hours for the Rat from 3 p.m. to 3:30.

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Michael Sullivan is the editor-in-chief of The Heights. After shouting out this space to his mother for two years as sports editor, he'd like to give one to his dad. You can follow him on Twitter @MichaelJSully.