The families of six Hawaii players on the University of Oregon football team may receive up to $1,250 per parent or guardian in travel expenses to attend the inaugural national championship game, it was announced Tuesday.
The Jan. 12 College Football Playoff between Oregon and Ohio State will be played in Arlington, Texas.
While the NCAA announced a waiver that would permit the up to $3,000, the CFP said its reimbursement will be capped at $1,250 per parent or guardian.
Still, Oregon defensive lineman DeForest Buckner of Waianae said, “I’m stoked. That’s good news.”
His parents and brother attended the Jan. 1 Rose Bowl and will be at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Buckner said.
The reimbursement is intended to cover expenses for hotel accommodations in North Texas and travel reimbursement and meal expenses for a maximum of two parents or legal guardians per athlete.
It is a breakthrough move by the NCAA which until now had required families to be responsible for their own expenses, a situation that has brought criticism to the NCAA and its member institutions who profit greatly from some championship events.
The football playoff, for example, generates more than $600 million in TV revenue. The NCAA and ESPN are in a $500 million, 14-year multimedia agreement for basketball.
“We know how expensive travel can be, so we’re pleased to provide assistance for parents or guardians who want to see their sons play in the first College Football Playoff National Championship,” Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff, said in a release.
“It will make the game even more special for the student-athletes to know that their family members are receiving this benefit.”
NCAA President Mark Emmert said, “Championship experiences like the Final Four create memories of a lifetime for student-athletes, and we want to make sure their families are there to support and celebrate with them,.”
The NCAA said a pilot program will also help cover expenses for players’ families to travel to the men’s and women’s Final Fours this spring.