(Sports Illustrated) — Allen Gordon has accomplished plenty in his life to this point and he’s not yet out of college.
The senior Ole Miss long jumper is an All-American. He was a finalist for the U.S. Olympic Trials, and his shirtless dancing moves on TikTok have turned into nearly 1 million followers.
On Friday, he scratched off another achievement: He made history.
Gordon was the first Ole Miss athlete to pick up a $2,990 check that the school is disbursing to its players.
It is believed to be the first such payment as part of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling granting schools the right to provide athletes additional financial support for academic achievements, up to a maximum of $5,980 per year. Ole Miss, the first known school to start cutting such checks, is splitting the distribution into two payments—one in the spring and one in the fall.
Gordon was able to receive the payment because he was academically eligible — Ole Miss athletes who met those academic requirements the previous semester and who are on an active roster (walk-ons included) meet the criteria for this academic bonus.
“Everybody is going to do this, for sure everybody in the SEC,” says Ole Miss athletic director Keith Carter. “We thought, ‘Let’s get ahead of this.’”
Dozens of schools around the country are also finalizing plans to begin distributing such checks to their athletes, some with stricter eligibility criteria. Just be eligible. The ACC, SEC, Pac-12, and Big 12 have all announced they plan to allow their schools the right to determine how to handle the NCAA vs. Alston ruling —a 9–0 Supreme Court decision in June that opened the door to these payments while rocking the governing body of college athletics and further cratering its amateurism model.
The high court’s ruling makes it possible for programs to offer an assortment of educational-related benefits, including unlimited graduate school, vocational and study abroad scholarships, paid internships, computers and equipment, and tutoring. And, of course, up to $5,980 in cash for “academic awards,” says Jeffrey Kessler, the victorious attorney in the Alston case.
The Rebels will spend $2.48 million a year in the additional payments for roughly 415 athletes, Carter says. This year, the payments are being funded through football season-ticket sales. With coach Lane Kiffin guiding the 12th-ranked Rebels to an 8–2 start, the university has generated more on ticket sales than expected and will use the excess revenue to fund the additional financial support to athletes. In the future, the school will include the payments as an annual budget line item.
Academic awards: ~$2.5M.
At Ole Miss, academic bonus checks will be cut each Oct. 15 and March 15, Carter says.
“These are life-changing for some student-athletes,” Kessler told SI in an interview this past summer. “Every school in the Power 5 should quickly offer these benefits.” Benefits Original Article By: Ross Dellenger
How will these awards benefit the student-athletes? Can Division 2 and Division 3 schools compete with the academic awards? Will the academic awards encourage student-athletes to do better in school?
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