Before making her college decision, sophomore Molly Kreklow weighed her options.
In high school, she played volleyball and was selected as an Under Armour High School All-American and was a representative on the Junior Olympic All-Tournament team twice. The deciding factor in her decision to play volleyball at MU was how much scholarship money she received.
“If I was not receiving a scholarship, I would not be going to school at Mizzou,” she said. “I am really thankful to have the opportunity to go to school and play volleyball.”
With the cost of tuition rising, MU met with other Big 12 Conference athletic associations last month to discuss the possibility of increasing the maximum value of scholarships for student athletes. The conversation comes at a time when NCAA football is still recovering from the impact of the Cam Newton controversy at Auburn University and the recent resignation of head coach Jim Tressel at Ohio State.
In both cases, students were rumored to have accepted gifts or larger amounts of money to play for their respective schools. Similar cases have occurred within the last decade, the most prominent being former University of Southern California running back Reggie Bush having to return his Heisman Trophy because he accepted gifts from athletic boosters at the school.
“We’re interested in examining the issue further, but don’t have an official stance on the concept just yet,” Athletics Department spokesman Chad Moller said. “It is only in the discussion stage. There have been no proposals or votes taken by anyone in the Big 12 Conference, so everything is pure speculation at this point.”
At press time, no further progress had been made on the scholarship increase, although the University of Texas has publicly stated that reviewing the value of scholarships is a necessary step forward.
Moller said the topic was discussed in a general sense at the recent Big 12 Athletic Director meetings, from a philosophical standpoint. The discussion lasted about 10 minutes, and it was largely in response to the recent news concerning the Big Ten Conference.
“It’s impossible to know what the full impact would be at Mizzou and at other Big 12 institutions right now,” Moller said. “There are reasons why this would be seen as a good move, namely, helping to further take care of our student athletes, but certainly there would be a lot of challenges associated.”
According to the MU Athletics Department, if the Big 12 were to review such a proposal, the scholarship increase would have an impact on the yearly proposed budget for the school's athletic teams.
“A majority of the volleyball team is on full scholarship so that could be a reason why I never hear complaints, but I think that it would be great for the Big 12,” Kreklow said. “I know there are some sports where a lot of the athletes don't get the scholarships that they deserve, so it would be nice for those teams to get more scholarship money.”
While the issue of athletic scholarships and rumors of pay-to-play continue to make the media rounds, Moller said it is unlikely that changes will be made anytime soon.
“The discussion was brief and there was no action or proposals made, so I imagine that the topic will continue to be discussed as we go forward,” Moller said. “Nothing is imminent as best I can tell.”