Athletes at the University of Maryland aren’t just lacing up new sneakers and insignia-branded sweatpants this term. All 500 intercollegiate athletes at the state school can now count, among standard issue equipment, an awesome, brand-spanking-new iPad, the replacement value of which is $600 per item. Wait, so what is the point?
Schoolwork! What did you think?
The school has issued a statement noting that the devices will keep students “better connected academically when traveling to represent the university.”
Funding comes from the NCAA Student-Athlete Opportunity Fund.
Jeff Barker, writing in The Baltimore Sun on Wednesday, reported that “the iPads’ distribution provoked curiosity and concern among non-athletes – particularly the backers of Terps teams recently eliminated because of budget issues.”
“Often times the [NCAA] fund is used for educational purposes, as it was in this case,” Maryland said in a prepared statement. “It cannot be applied to a general fund or in the case of the University of Maryland to reinstate athletic programs.”
Those lucky students who receive the cool products must sign an agreement promising not to sell them later.
I say this is a pretty smart, forward-thinking move on the part of Maryland. And I wonder how many times the student athletes have recently been heard to shout the word, “SCORE!” not upon a return to spring training, but upon receiving their neat new machines.
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