Montgomery, Ala. UAB coach Jerod Haase is using part of his new seven-figure contract to help cover the cost of attendance stipends for both the men’s and women’s basketball players.
Haase, the men’s basketball coach, stepped in to contribute after the university wasn’t able to pay every athlete’s cost of attendance this academic year because the budget was already set, athletic director Mark Ingram said Thursday.
Ingram said UAB had found some budget room to give money to those two teams. Haase, a former Kansas University standout, helped out, too.
“Our coaches felt strongly that it was an important issue in terms of maintaining a competitive edge and so on, and so we did that,” Ingram said. “Then coach Haase asked could he, like many coaches, make a gift to his program to help augment that. And he did.”
Ingram said there was no NCAA conflict with Haase’s donation because he gave it to the general fund and the athletic department decides where it goes. He added that it is common for coaches to give to their programs.
Haase said he and his wife, Mindy, have also given money to other sports. He declined to discuss specifics of the donations, which included $23,000 each for men’s and women’s basketball.
“Mark Ingram and I have worked hand in hand to try to get us to be as competitive as possible, and cost of attendance has always been very important for me,” Haase said in a phone interview Thursday. “Mark Ingram was able to find ways to get it done.”
ESPN.com first reported the donations. UAB will start paying cost of attendance for all athletes in the fall of 2016.
Ingram wasn’t sure of the total amount the basketball players are getting.
UAB gave Haase a six-year contract extension worth $1 million a year after he led the Blazers to an upset of third-seeded Iowa State in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
The NCAA began in August allowing member schools to provide athletic scholarships that cover the full cost of attendance. UAB’s fiscal year runs Oct. 1-Sept. 30 and the budget was set months before the NCAA approved cost of attendance money in January.
Haase cites his own experiences playing for coach Roy Williams at Kansas as why that’s such a significant issue for him.
“My goal, maybe my biggest goal, is to be able to provide great experiences to my players and that someday they think about me the way I think about coach Williams,” he said. “I always thought every decision he ever made was based on what was best for the student-athlete.
“I hope that my decisions here are based on what’s going to help us be really, really good but also what’s going to help the student-athlete.”
Haase knows the challenges of making ends meet in college. He said he saved up $3,000 to buy a red hatchback 1989 Honda Civic before his fifth year at Kansas.
“I had a bike my first four years of college for transportation,” Haase said. “My mom tried to give me $100 a month for laundry and extra food and whatever else.”
The NCAA Tournament trip was a bright spot for a university that was dealing with fallout from cutting football, bowling and rifle in a cost-cutting move. UAB has brought all three sports back after receiving financial commitments from a number of supporters, and Haase said coaches and staffers throughout the department have adopted the attitude that “we’re all in this together.”
“I think the overall attitude in our department is that we want to contribute how we can,” Haase said.