The commissioners who control major college football, who earlier this year received NCAA clearance to provide additional annual stipends for scholarship athletes, have launched another initiative to share their burgeoning broadcast revenue.
The College Football Playoff announced Tuesday it will help defray the cost for families traveling to Monday's national championship game between Oregon and Ohio State in Arlington, Texas.
Parents or guardians of participating players will receive up to $1,250 to help cover travel and food costs. The stipend will cover a maximum of two parents, or legal guardians, per athlete.
"We know how expensive travel can be, so we’re pleased to provide assistance to 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 statement. “It will make the game even more special for the student-athletes to know that their family members are receiving this benefit.”
Hancock said this is a pilot program that will be reevaluated after the game to see whether the dollar amount is appropriate for traveling families.
While the program is subject to NCAA rules, the College Football Playoff is financially independent of college's governing body. The NCAA lost control of college football broadcasting rights in a 1980s Supreme Court antitrust decision, which left the conferences free to negotiate their own rights deals.
This has pumped billions of dollars into major college conferences that command the highest contracts. ESPN is paying $5.6 billion to broadcast the College Football Playoff for the next 12 seasons.
Monday night's title game culminates the first season of the four-team playoff, which replaced the BCS after 16 seasons.