According to the school, these eligible athletes will get “additional education-related benefits and direct financial support in the form of academic achievement awards, up to the legally established maximum of $5,980 per year.”
The first award in the spring of 2022 will be a total of $2,990.
Chris Del Conte, UT Vice President and Athletics Director, said in a school statement, “We’re excited to be able to provide our student-athletes with additional support, but as importantly, to continue to initiate programs that focus on their academic commitment and success. Our student‐athletes have a wonderful opportunity to engage in a world‐class academic experience while pursuing athletic excellence at the highest level.”
Student-athletes can earn more academic awards in the following years, NBC reported. These can equal $5,980 a year, with half given out each semester.
According to UT’s statement, the “additional academic benefits will be awarded after review and confirmation of academic progress and program engagement.”
The financial benefit is meant to encourage all UT student-athletes, the statement claims.
“We take a holistic approach to the academic and athletic experience while steadfastly encouraging our student-athletes to pursue meaningful and beneficial course work and to be involved in our enrichment programs like 4EVER TEXAS and LEVERAGE, as they train for excellence in their sports,” Del Conte explained. “This additional academic benefit will be another way to bring out the very best in our student-athletes. I can’t thank President Jay Hartzell and our campus leadership enough for helping us make this happen.”
The NCAA had recently prevented student-athletes from receiving any payment, saying it took away their amateur status. However, in September, the Supreme Court made a ruling to change that.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh agreed with the court’s ruling, NBC reported.
Kavanaugh wrote, “Nowhere else in America can businesses get away with agreeing to not pay their workers a fair market rate on their theory that their product is defined by not paying their workers a fair market rate. And under ordinary principles of antitrust law, it is not evident why college sports should be any different. The NCAA is not above the law.”
KXAN spoke to one student about the added financial award.
UT softball player Lauren Burke said, “It really makes me feel super valued as a student-athlete at Texas. It just shows how much they care about the athletes, and they care about our academics as well.”
School officials have not released any information on possible GPA requirements for student-athletes. Burke told KXAN these benefits are a step forward.
She said, “It just takes some pressure off of financial situations people may be in, whether it’s their car payment, whether it’s rent.”
It is unclear where the funding for added compensation will come from, according to KXAN.