Back in early 2015, College Football Playoff officials delighted the parents and guardians of Ohio State and Oregon football players by paying expenses that would allow them to travel to the national championship game in North Texas. Under a pilot program, CFP distributed $500,000 to be used to assist families of athletes from The Ohio State University and the University of Oregon who attended the game in North Texas on January 12, 2015. At that time, the NCAA granted a waiver that allowed the College Football Playoff to provide a reimbursement of up to $1,250 per parent or guardian to cover travel, lodging and meal expenses. (The waiver was necessary to comply with NCAA rules and is valid as long as the bills are being paid by the organizing body of the event and not schools.)
Recently, the NCAA and the College Football Playoff announced that the program will be extended to include the 2015 semifinals. The $2,500 stipend per student-athlete is meant to help with expenses for hotel accommodations, travel and meals for up to 100 families from each participating institution.
“We were pleased to implement this expense-reimbursement program for the first College Football Playoff National Championship and we received warm and sincere positive feedback from the family members," said Bill Hancock, executive director of the CFP, in a statement. "Extending support to the Playoff Semifinals will be another terrific benefit for folks who will be thrilled to be present to celebrate the accomplishments and experiences of their student-athletes."
According to Doug Lesmerises of the Northeast Ohio Media Group, the new program will cost the CFP about $1.5 million, but he notes that the playoff can well afford it, as the TV contract for the playoff is worth nearly $500 million per year.
“Annie Apple, the mother of Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple, helped lead the charge that led to the late money last year,” wrote Lesmermises. “She wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that some parents recently met with Oliver Luck, the former West Virginia AD who is now a VP at the NCAA, and the stipend came up. Apple also said the Ohio State football parents association honored Urban Meyer, Gene Smith, football compliance director Brad Bertani, Alabama coach Nick Saban and the playoff committee's Hancock for their help in making the family stipend happen.”
Meyer, Smith and Saban were reportedly very vocal and supportive in pushing for financial help for players and their families during the playoffs.