(As soon as a couple USD coaches credited president Jim Abbott after Friday’s announcement that USD would begin offering cost of attendance stipends next year, I knew I should try to contact Abbott. He has always been very accessible whenever I’ve contacted his office, and Friday was no different)
BY JEREMY HOECK
VERMILLION – Nine years ago Jim Abbott proclaimed that University of South Dakota athletes and fans “deserve a competitive experience.”
That was during an announcement that USD would be making the move to Division I.
As the next decade has progressed and regional schools began offering what is referred to as “cost of attendance,” Abbott – USD’s president – said he realized his university needed to keep pace.
“It seems to be a necessary move to meet the competition,” Abbott told the Press & Dakotan on Friday, hours after USD announced it will provide cost of attendance stipends in all 17 sports beginning with the 2016-17 season.
The additional aid for Coyote student-athletes is a sign, the president said, that USD is committed to succeeding at the D-I level.
“I don’t see much point going into a machine gun fight with a bow and arrow,” Abbott said. “If it’s a machine gun fight, you want to be able to be equal to the competition.”
And to that end, USD becomes the fourth FCS school – third in the Dakotas – to make such an announcement. Liberty (Virginia) was the first, and North Dakota State and the University of North Dakota followed suit.
While there may have been a rush to keep pace, USD had already planned to offer cost of attendance, as athletic director David Herbster said last week. It was just a matter of getting all the ducks in a row.
(Full story in Saturday’s P&D)