UMd. athletes get free iPads amid school’s financial strains

Andrew Mollenbeck,

WASHINGTON – Play a sport, get an iPad.

That’s the deal for student athletes at the University of Maryland who’ve recently unwrapped hundreds of the popular tablets.

The athletics department has passed out 504 iPads at a cost approaching $300,000, according to spokesman Zack Bolno.

He is quick to point out the money comes from the NCAA Student-Athlete Opportunity Fund, the purpose of which is to provide direct benefits to athletes.

In the past, the department has used the fund to purchase flights for athletes attending funerals, cover medical expenses and upgrade a computer lab.

The iPad gift may turn heads, but the university is adamant that the money couldn’t, in any way, have been used to reinstate previously cut sports programs.

The money couldn’t have been applied to the general fund either.

But, finances were a key reason the university left the Atlantic Coast Conference to join the Big Ten Conference.

A statement from the athletics department says the iPads will “assist with [students’] educational endeavors,” especially while they are on road trips.

The tablets are still university property and student athletes signed liability agreements for them.

Follow @MollenbeckWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

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