Tallahassee, Florida -- Florida State University is doing the right thing.
The school will reportedly pay quarterback Jameis Winston $60,000 to play football this season. That's a small portion of the millions he'll help the university generate, but is far more than most players will receive.
Oh. The NCAA, you ask? It's fine with this whole arrangement.
According to the SB Nation site Tomahawk Nation, Florida State appears to be taking advantage of a loophole that allows it to dip into a reserve fund set aside to pay for things students athletes might need. Usually, that means buying them a flight home in the event of a family emergency. Or a new suit, should they need one for a national media appearance.
In this case, it's going to pay for Winston's insurance.
Yahoo first reported that Winston had purchased both "total permanent disability" coverage as well as "loss of value" coverage. The first pays out if he is injured and can never play football again. The second pays out if an injury causes him to be drafted below where he's currently projected, which is solidly in the first 10 picks.
Winston stands to make between $8 million to 10 million if the policies are needed, according to Yahoo.
Texas A&M appears to have pioneered the use of the Student Assistance Fund to pay insurance premiums when it convinced offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi to return to school instead of enter the NFL draft by promising to handle the payment of $50,000-plus. His family would have had trouble covering it; many players who take out such policies rely on financing.
A Texas A&M official described the school's discovery that it could use the fund in that manner as "a game-changer" to Fox Sports.
He was, of course, correct. Florida State isn't paying this money to keep Winston; he wasn't even eligible for the NFL draft. But the Seminoles are sending a clear message to both him and future recruits that they'll use every method they can find to reward top players.
Which means that footing the bill for these policies will soon become standard operating procedure for major college football programs. And that insurance companies will be more likely to offer them.
The assistance fund is capped by the NCAA, and reached $350,000 last year according to Fox. So there's some money to go around.
The assistance fund could help college football retain more talent. That'd be great. But the insurance premium is just as likely to become the latest enticement used to woo five-star prospects.
By this time next year the best 50 players will all have similar agreements, and there might not be quite as much money left to send a track star home.
More background on Jameis Winston: