College Playoff, NCAA to offset travel costs for athlete parents

Parents of University of Oregon and Ohio State University athletes playing in next week’s national title game will have their travel expenses defrayed by the College Football Playoff.

Two parents or legal guardians per player will receive up to $1,250 each for travel, meals and accommodations in the Dallas area as part of a National Collegiate Athletic Association pilot program announced Tuesday.

This is the first year of the four-team football playoff. No. 2 Oregon (13-1) meets No. 4 Ohio State (13-1) on Jan. 12 in Arlington, Texas.

“We know how expensive travel can be, so we’re pleased to provide assistance to parents or guardians who want to see their sons play,” said Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff. “It will make the game even more special for the student-athletes to know that their family members are receiving this benefit.”

The Indianapolis-based NCAA also said it will help cover expenses for players’ families to travel to men’s and women’s basketball Final Four weekends this year. The NCAA will pay up to $3,000 for family members of each student who competes in the semifinals. Families will receive an additional $1,000 if their son or daughter competes in the title game two days later.

“Championship experiences like the Final Four create memories of a lifetime for student-athletes, and we want to make sure their families are there to support and celebrate with them,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a release.

Extra money

At next week’s NCAA annual convention in Washington, D.C., the five richest conferences are expected to agree to give scholarship athletes approximately $1,000-$5,000 extra per year to meet the full cost of attendance.

“From multiyear scholarships to opportunities to return to school and complete their degree on scholarship, we have been dedicated to further improving the student-athlete experience since our presidential retreat in August 2011,” Emmert said. “Providing travel expenses for student-athletes’ families is another example of this progress.”

The NCAA does not run the championship for college football’s top division. As part of its announcement, the organization said the College Football Playoff would also be allowed to defray the cost of attendance for parents.

The new football playoff system requires more travel for families who want to see their sons compete in postseason games. The Oregon Ducks played their semifinal game in Pasadena, California; Ohio State traveled to New Orleans.

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