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Northwestern’s Fitzgerald on using cost-of-living stipend to woo recruits: ‘You have no idea’

Northwestern head football coach PFitzgerald speaks during news conference Big Ten conference football mediday Wednesday July 24 2013 Chicago. (AP

Northwestern head football coach Pat Fitzgerald speaks during a news conference at the Big Ten conference football media day Wednesday, July 24, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

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Updated: August 27, 2013 6:38AM

Pat Fitzgerald is a clever tactician when it comes to using media sessions to appeal to the nation’s general recruiting base. Big Ten Media Day on Thursday was no different, with the Northwestern coach liberally discussing his recruiting strategies and in turn letting the masses know the benefits of playing for the Wildcats.

That didn’t make what he said any less-eye opening.

In continuing the discussion about giving athletes an additional stipend or financial compensation, Fitzgerald said he already uses the cost-of-living stipend as a recruiting tool.

Collegiate athletes are provided with money to cover living expenses, but that amount is adjusted based on the location of the university.

‘‘The stipend at our place is a heck of a lot more than it is at other schools because of the cost-of-living adjustment,’’ Fitzgerald said. ‘‘And I’m not going to lie to you — I use that like you have no idea in recruiting.’’

As it pertained to increasing the stipend, an idea that gained momentum after Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany made comments in favor of doing so, Fitzgerald felt that conversation couldn’t exclusively include football and basketball coaches.

‘‘I’m looking, probably like every coach, to do whatever is right best for our student-athletes, whatever gives them the opportunity to have the best experience possible while they’re going through the full-time job by being a student-athlete,’’ Fitzgerald said. ‘‘Does that mean a stipend? I don’t have the answers.

‘‘The bigger issues and the discussions that need to happen have to go with the non-revenue sports and how is their equality, how is there the same opportunity? If you’re only going to do it for the revenue sports, I’m not sure how that makes sense.’’

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