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Free Snacks! Why Cost of Attendance is a big deal

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Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Boise State may have a bye week, but they are still making big moves—sending out a press release Tuesday announcing the arrival of unlimited free snacks (something I've since implemented in my own home). More than that, however, Boise State also announced their commitment to so-called "cost of attendance" reforms to their scholarships ahead of expected NCAA governance changes. Also on Tuesday, the MAC announced that they would go along with the cost of attendance reforms as well if (and that's not much of an "if") they are ratified by the Power-5. Of course, the MAC is likely to leave an out clause for schools that are unable to foot the bill (which estimates say could be anywhere from $500k to $1M extra out of the athletic budget each year.

Keep in mind, Boise State is the only MWC team thus far to announce their commitment to the COA and also keep in mind that the MAC is one of the more cash-strapped conferences in the FBS. Whether they "allow" schools to take on the extra cost or not, "opt-outs" may (and likely will) occur. When it comes to the MWC, Boise State finds itself in a unique situation...as the first school to announce their intentions to support the proposal, they force other schools in the conference to fish or cut bait. Boise State's facilities are already the envy of the Mountain West, so if other schools lose one more bargaining chip with recruits, logic would say that Boise State could find itself on another tier. Well, us and whoever can afford to come with.

This process hasn't entirely played out yet and conferences—like the MAC—could find ways to supplement and aid their member institutions in implementing full COA schollies, but in the short-term, it seems like the kind of moves that could speed the emergence of a mythical "third tier" in the FBS. Right now, you're either a "have" or a "have not", but cost of attendance could drive a stake in between. You might see "supplemented haves" (schools whose conference revenue kickbacks more than cover the extra expense), "find-a-way haves" (schools like Boise State, who will invest regardless of existing revenue streams) and "have nots" (schools that literally have no extra cash to absorb extra costs even if they wanted to; see: probably IDAHO). Let's be honest, Boise State moved all their chips to the center of the table a few years ago and committed to competing at the highest level because they knew they could. That alone should tell future recruits all they need to hear.