'These kids want to be a Bison': Entz on cost of attendance factor in recruiting

Published: Dec. 18, 2019 at 9:49 PM CST
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North Dakota State took a brief break from game planning for the semifinals of the FCS playoffs to welcome in 24 high school athletes that signed their letter of intent as members of the 2020 signing class.

The 24 high school seniors all wrapping up a lengthy recruiting process. Most if not all of these young men receiving several offers from fellow Missouri Valley Football Conference programs, as well as larger FBS programs.

The success in recruiting is a major step and piece to the puzzle that has helped NDSU maintain their dominance in the FCS scene.

The program looking at it's ninth consecutive appearance in the semifinals this weekend.

Earlier this week, Montana State head coach Jeff Choate was asked if the success of the Bison was good for FCS football.

Choate and his Bobcats are returning to Fargo with a trip to Frisco, Texas on the line. It would be the first trip to the FCS National Championship for Montana State. They were eliminated from the playoffs last year in the second round in Fargo.

Choate was shaking his head 'no' before the question was finished being asked on Monday. He continued to reference the benefit NDSU has in offering full cost of attendance, a topic he had brought up earlier in his press conference.

"I think we all gotta play the same game, you know?" Choate asked his audience of reporters. "But it is what it is. These are the rules we're playing by. And so I hope we can make it more competitive. I'm sure they love it. But you know it's the same story line every year, right? Like I said, if you've got one group that's offering $3,340 a year in cash to these kids that another group isn't, the scholarship isn't apples to apples. So are we really playing on the same level? I don't know."

Cost of Attendance was passed by the NCAA a few years ago as an option for programs to provide their student athletes in addition to scholarships. It can be used for things transportation and other daily expenses.

During the NDSU signing day press conference, Valley News Live sports director Beth Hoole asked Entz just how big a factor he see's cost of attendance as when he speaks with athletes and their families.

"Most players have an idea of what it is and we talk about it early in the recruiting process, with the initial offer," Entz explained. "But I don't know if a lot of parents quite understand it until I provide them with some paperwork on an official visit that kind of lays out what it entails, what it is, how it works."

Entz went on to agree it is more of a cherry on top of their offer, rather than a deciding factor for the athletes they are recruiting.

"I think most of these kids want to be Bison. All these North Dakota kids grow up wanting to be Bison," Entz said Wednesday. "I don't think cost of attendance has anything to do with their decision making. I think it's the quality of people that are associated with our program, our administration and then the quality of players that we currently have here and then the tradition that we have established here at NDSU."

That tradition drew in children of alumni, siblings of current players and athletes playing for high school coaches that proudly played for the Bison football program. Not to mention countless others that saw the wheels in motion during official visits and attended the program's three-day summer camp.

Entz said spots remain in the 2020 signing class but there is no urgency to fill those spots with just anyone.

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