Skip To Main Content
Texas Tech University Sports event

Cash Per Diem Challenge for Student-Athletes Solved.

Prepaid Expense Cards Reduce Risk, Provide Flexibility and Ease Compliance


Texas Tech University played its first intercollegiate football game in 1925. Nearly a century later, the university’s athletic program boasts 15 sports and about 450 student-athletes.

As a business manager in the athletic department, it’s Byron Campbell’s responsibility to facilitate cash per diems for all of those student-athletes prior to game-related travels — a time-consuming and inherently risky task. When travel stays are shortened or extended, the cash per diems become especially complicated. Cash also requires a lot of paperwork and makes compliance cumbersome.

While at a College Athletic Business Management Association (CABMA) trade show, Campbell found a solution to the challenges he faced. The CommercePayments® Prepaid Expense Card is a reloadable prepaid Visa® card. Universities can easily load and unload per diem funds for student-athletes.

Reducing Risk

Prior to switching to CommercePayments® Prepaid Expense Card, the athletic department’s business office would request and obtain large sums of cash for administrators and coaches prior to their travel for away games. They were responsible for keeping those per diem funds safe until they were distributed to student-athletes. Aside from the security and legal risks, cash can get lost or stolen.

The CommercePayments® Prepaid Expense Card can help universities eliminate the risk of cash.

“Our business office and our university’s finance department agreed this process was more secure and had better controls,” said Campbell, business office manager-athletic department, Texas Tech University.

Providing Flexibility

The debit cards have many real-time benefits for athletic departments, including the ability to:

  • Unload funds if travel is shortened so student-athletes don’t receive per diems for days they didn’t travel, remaining in compliance with NCAA® rules

  • Add funds if travel is extended, in the case of post-season tournaments

  • Deactivate a lost or stolen card; instantly issue a new card1 and transfer the funds from the previous card

  • Block “off-limit” merchants, such as liquor stores or gaming establishments

Easing Compliance

Student-athletes have a unique number associated with their debit cards, which keeps a defined paper trail of approvals, amounts, loading and unloading of funds, etc. Administrators can automatically load and unload amounts, which helps student student-athletes and universities manage their on-the-road per diems in accordance with NCAA® rules. When coaches and student-athletes return from travel any remaining balances can be moved back into the appropriate university account.

“We’ve had compliance requests and it was easy to find details such as dates and amounts for a specific student-athlete,” said Campbell.

The CommercePayments® team at Commerce Bank has worked with universities and junior colleges of all sizes.

To learn more about what Prepaid Expense Cards can do for your institution, or to get started, visit us online at or email us at

“We talked to the University of Missouri and the University of Kansas to learn about their processes using CommercePayments® Prepaid Expense Cards. Between that information and the great customer support from Commerce Bank we received from day one, our transition from cash to prepaid cards went very well.”

Byron Campbell | Business Office Manager
Athletic Department, Texas Tech University

CommercePayments® solutions are provided by Commerce Bank.

1. Instant issue cards are a product option.

Also See: