University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletic director David Blackburn said Wednesday that each of the school's 15 women's basketball players and 13 men's basketball players on scholarship will be given $2,000 to cover cost of attendance this school year.
That is more than 60 percent of the $3,200 total that UTC could give each scholarship student-athlete, according to the formula used as determined by the United States Department of Education.
The sum of $56,000 will come from funds distributed from the NCAA, which approved giving student-athletes the stipend starting Aug. 1.
"We think men's and women's basketball make the most sense for us," Blackburn said. "I believe it gives us the best return on our investment, especially with the women who regularly compete in recruiting against a lot of teams in bigger leagues."
The women's basketball team won 25 consecutive games and spent most of the second half of last season ranked among the nation's top 25. Hall of Fame coach Jim Foster returns a majority of last season's roster, and the potential payoff of getting to the NCAA tournament and winning a game were part of the decision-making process, Blackburn said.
Blackburn said there was a discussion about football, but that he and football coach Russ Huesman decided against it for a couple of reasons.
Blackburn said the math would be difficult, and that Huesman worried about trying to parcel out uneven amounts among the 63 scholarships the football program allocates and what varying amounts would do to team chemistry.
Plus, while there are not Title IX requirements in the current wording of the cost of attendance, Blackburn knows there will be talks — and could be potential lawsuits — in the future. He said it was part of almost all of UTC's discussions.
"We will keep an eye on which (Football Championship Subdivision) schools are committing to doing it for football," Blackburn said, "and we may re-evaluate that later."