COLUMBUS -- Julie Posey is grateful that her son DeVier has an athletic scholarship to Ohio State.
A widow with four children, she appreciates that the scholarship provides for tuition, books, and room and board. But she also is fully aware of what an athletic scholarship does not cover, which is virtually everything else.
It is a gap that she estimates costs her thousands of dollars per year in miscellaneous living expenses. DeVier Posey decided to sell his 2008 Big Ten championship ring for $1,200 to help his family, Ohio State officials said. Terrelle Pryor, Mike Adams, Dan Herron, and Solomon Thomas also sold OSU items for the same reason. By doing so, the NCAA ruled, the players violated rules that will result in their suspension for the first five games of the 2011 season.
Posey said the NCAA -- not her son and not Ohio State -- is the real guilty party.
"The NCAA is amazing," she said. "Every time you turn around, they come up with something new to ensure that the young men that have poured their hearts and souls and energy and intellect into their craft are continually kept at a disadvantage when everybody else around them is running to the bank."
Because of limited on-campus housing, Ohio State athletes typically live in dorms only for their freshman year. They receive a stipend that's supposed to compensate them for food and housing costs their remaining years, but that doesn't cover all expenses. In the summer, when athletes are expected to remain on campus to prepare for the season, the stipend is only half of what it is the rest of the year because it's based on academic credit hours taken.
"You have to have a car," Posey said. "You've got to have insurance. You've got to have gas money. What they give them for rent and stuff is not enough. It's just not enough.
"So it's already a financial strain on a family. The whole thing requires money but they [the NCAA] don't want to give it to them. The NCAA is saying, 'Well, if they gave them money, they no longer have amateur status.'
"Well, guess what? College football and basketball players are the only amateurs not receiving any money that I see plastered all over the TV and on magazines. They're not amateurs. Who do they think they're kidding? The NCAA certainly doesn't look at them as amateurs. If they did, they wouldn't be making money off them."
The NCAA does provide a Student Opportunity Fund to help athletes make ends meet. But it doesn't provide for everything needed, and there are restrictions on its use. Ohio State athletics director Gene Smith would like to see the fund liberalized, with money coming from the lucrative new NCAA men's basketball tournament television contract.
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