West Virginia University Commits $1.5 Million For Athlete Education Benefits

West Virginia’s athletic department said Monday it will commit $1.5 million annually in education-related benefits starting this fall for its scholarship athletes.

WVU athletes will have the chance to receive the assistance based on their academic achievement and progress toward graduation, the department said in a news release.

Last fall the Big 12 announced it would allow its member schools to decide the amount of education-related benefits athletes can be given in an academic year following a U.S. Supreme Court decision over the summer.

The court ruling came in a case brought by former athletes, including West Virginia football player Shawne Alston. It barred the NCAA from preventing schools from offering additional education-related benefits to Division I football and basketball players. That left it up to individual conferences to set limits if they choose. The Big 12 set $5,980 as a benefits ceiling.

West Virginia will make payments on an annual basis after one year if an athlete is academically eligible and has a satisfactory student conduct record. The athlete cannot be in the transfer portal at the time of payment, the school said.

“Our student-athletes work extremely hard to succeed in the classroom and sometimes those efforts are overshadowed by what’s happening in competition,” athletics director Shane Lyons said. “Based on the Supreme Court ruling, the Mountaineer Academic Incentive Program now gives us the opportunity to enhance the student-athlete experience, which is paramount in our department.”

Lyons said WVU hopes to supplement that program in the future through fundraising efforts.