Pets, Car Repairs and Mom: How College Football Players Use Their Stipends

The decision to introduce the stipends after years of objections from the N.C.A.A. came in response to outside pressure — from essays to lawsuits — criticizing colleges for not sharing more of the money they earned off their athletes. But it also came because of the continually rising amount of cash produced by innovations like the College Football Playoff itself, which is currently in the third year of a 12-year, $7.3 billion deal with ESPN. (That contract allowed the playoff to return $425 million to the 20 Football Bowl Division conferences and the few remaining independents in 2015-16, money they added to the hundreds of millions of dollars they already divide up every year for the television rights to their regular-season games.)


Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell on Saturday, when the Tigers defeated Ohio State, 31-0. He has his stipend check sent to his mother in Richmond, Va.

Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

How the players use the stipend money is up to them. Before his car repair, Smith used part of his to cover the $100 fee his younger brother needed…

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