Earlier this year, the NCAA voted to allow colleges in the five biggest athletic conferences to increase athletes’ scholarship money so that it would cover the total cost of attendance — not just tuition, fees, room and board, and books.

In the ensuing months, colleges have moved to define exactly how much extra they’ll begin offering players, with some deciding to spring for more than $4,000 extra per athlete.

But for some athletes, that money might come with strings attached.

The defensive coordinator for Virginia Tech’s football team, Bud Foster, floated the idea on Wednesday of taking money from the cost-of-attendance stipend as a penalty for misbehavior, The Roanoke Times reports. That the program was planning such a policy was confirmed by a university spokesman, who said fines would be dealt by the coach.

The idea was panned on social media, and the university’s athletic director quickly said the college was abandoning the plan.

That doesn’t appear to be the case at the University of Cincinnati. Officials there told ESPN on Thursday the program was still considering withholding money from the cost-of-attendance stipend in cases of academic or behavioral misconduct. “It’s not a fine,” said the university’s athletic director, Mike Bohn. “It’s not a threat. It’s a tool. We want to help our student-athletes and are committed to helping them.”

The university’s senior associate director of athletics, Maggie McKinley, told ESPN that students’ aid agreements grant the college the ability to eliminate or reduce the amount they receive if they break university policies.

Whether such a measure would comply with NCAA rules is still a matter of debate, and it speaks to the fluidity of the cost-of-attendance landscape. Ryan Squire, associate athletic director for compliance at the University of Illinois, tweeted this, of the Virginia Tech proposal:

@drridpath @BryanDFischer @normwood This would not even be permissible under current NCAA rules. Coach can’t reduce financial aid


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