While Virginia Tech on Thursday discontinued one system of fining its football players and denounced another, Cincinnati is embracing a similar concept.
A day after Virginia Tech assistant coach Bud Foster commented that players' newly acquired benefit of a cost-of-attendance stipend could be subject to fines from the coaching staff, VT athletic director Whit Babcock said not only that the Hokies' coaching staff would do no such thing, but that a current practice of fining players by deducting from players' bowl-game stipends would end as well.
Babcock told The Roanoke Times he met with coach Frank Beamer and Foster and ended the possibility of the cost-of-attendance fines.
"... that was Bud speaking alone and proposing something," Babcock said in part. "But nobody had gotten fined under the new system and we squashed it."
Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville takes a contrasting view. While the Bearcats' coach doesn't plan to fine his players, he is considering a withholding of cost-of-attendance stipend funds for violations of various kinds, according to ESPN.com.
"We are holding them accountable," Tuberville said.
Cincinnati athletic director Mike Bohn added: "It's not a fine. It's not a threat. It's a tool. We want to help our student-athletes and are committed to helping them."
As for Virginia Tech, Babcock acknowleged a fining system already in place, which he also discontinued, under which players were fined money they are allotted for bowl trips.
"There has been in place for a number of years, not to this extent, but for a number of years, a little bit of a, and I hate to use the word, but I can't use another one, but a fine system, disciplinary for our players and such," Babcock said. "And I think it's come out of bowl type stuff. So I was not aware that we were doing that. It's not against NCAA rules. It's probably more prevalent than people think, but I was not aware of it."
It's a harsh look for Virginia Tech, to be sure, and probably not something they'll be thrilled for Hokies recruits to read about. Cost-of-attendance stipends have only begun with the 2015-2016 school year, and those are intended to help student-athletes pay for college-related expenses that are not covered in a standard scholarship. The amount of money varies by school, and is determined administratively. The stipends vary based on whether players are in-state or out-of-state students. On the high end, some schools are providing roughly $6,000 per year to each student-athlete, while other stipends are far lower.
Babcock summarized Foster's remarks Wednesday succinctly: "I think Bud got out over his skis a little bit on that one."