Big Ten leaders support four-year, full cost of attendance scholarships

  • 06/24/2014 7:29 pm in

While keeping steadfast in their stance that college athletes should not be paid to play, the Big Ten presidents and chancellors issued a statement on Thursday voicing support to work “within the NCAA to provide greater academic security and success for our student-athletes.”

The statement, which is signed by either the president or chancellor at each Big Ten institution, outlined four reforms the conference supports:

• We must guarantee the four-year scholarships that we offer. If a student-athlete is no longer able to compete, for whatever reason, there should be zero impact on our commitment as universities to deliver an undergraduate education. We want our students to graduate.

• If a student-athlete leaves for a pro career before graduating, the guarantee of a scholarship remains firm. Whether a professional career materializes, and regardless of its length, we will honor a student’s scholarship when his or her playing days are over. Again, we want students to graduate.

• We must review our rules and provide improved, consistent medical insurance for student-athletes. We have an obligation to protect their health and well-being in return for the physical demands placed upon them.

• We must do whatever it takes to ensure that student-athlete scholarships cover the full cost of a college education, as defined by the federal government. That definition is intended to cover what it actually costs to attend college.

The statement also outlined, in the Big Ten’s view, the pitfalls of moving to a pay for play system, which has become a hot topic of conversation in recent months after a movement to unionize at Northwestern as well as the Ed O’Bannon vs. NCAA trial.

Across the Big Ten, and in every major athletic conference, football and men’s basketball are the principal revenue sports. That money supports the men and women competing in all other sports. No one is demanding paychecks for our gymnasts or wrestlers. And yet it is those athletes – in swimming, track, lacrosse, and other so-called Olympic sports – who will suffer the most under a pay-to-play system.

The revenue creates more opportunities for more students to attend college and all that provides, and to improve the athletic experiences through improved facilities, coaching, training and support.

If universities are mandated to instead use those dollars to pay football and basketball players, it will be at the expense of all other teams. We would be forced to eliminate or reduce those programs. Paying only some athletes will create inequities that are intolerable and potentially illegal in the face of Title IX.

You can read the full statement from the conference here.

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  • Gregory Spera

    “That definition is intended to cover what it actually costs to attend college.”

    It took putting a gun to their head to get them to do the right thing, but it’s a start.

  • unclekerfuffle

    The guaranteed scholarship is the first step towards ending the one-and-done drain on college basketball. The next step is to bring some sort of influence on the APR calculations from the number of student-athletes not graduating within their eligibility period for whatever reason. This would discourage universities from recruiting only one-and-dones or two-and-dones. It would distribute the elite talent across a broader number of programs.

    Of course, a transfer to another accredited institution should continue to not count against the APR.

    Just my two cents worth.

  • HoosierGrampy

    • If a student-athlete leaves for a pro career before graduating, the guarantee of a scholarship remains firm. Whether a professional career materializes, and regardless of its length, we will honor a student’s scholarship when his or her playing days are over. Again, we want students to graduate.
    This is comparable to telling a newly wedded wife/husband that if you ever meet someone whom you deem has more to offer the relationship than me, go ahead and we’ll end our marriage, but if it doesn’t work out–regardless of the reason–I’ll take you back…said no rationally-thinking man (or woman) EVER.

  • marcusgresham

    “If a student-athlete leaves for a pro career before graduating, the guarantee of a scholarship remains firm. Whether a professional career materializes, and regardless of its length, we will honor a student’s scholarship when his or her playing days are over.” …..but we can guarantee you we will bury that SOB in letters requesting charitable donations for the remainder of his life.

  • Outoftheloop

    Just how does a guaranteed scholarship impact the “1 and done” issue? I have never heard a kid heading for the NBA lament “if I only knew that college scholarship was guaranteed for four years, I would have stayed.”

  • Outoftheloop

    Does this mean that Jay Edwards can come back to finish his degree on a full ride scholarship?

  • marcusgresham

    Honestly, if anything it gives them more incentive to jump early. “Even if I bomb out I can go back to college for free.”

  • denglishiu

    Big Ten leaders support four-year, full cost of attendance scholarships… But what do the Legends say?

  • Alford Bailey

    Sorry boys and girls, but when a kid jumps for the Pros that should be it. There ARE going to be risks in life and going pro is a big one. Bout time we started teaching these kids the ¨gubment¨ aint gonna be there to pick you up after a poor decision. All for cutting these ridiculous coaches salaries a spreading a certain amount of these dollars among the players.

  • ForeverIU

    Exactly what I thought. Making the B1G more one-and-done-friendly. We want you to graduate, eventually (like when you’re retired), and in the meantime will keep playing on your heartstrings until we milk every last penny out of you. Lord forgive me if I’m wrong, and what do “I” know?

  • ForeverIU

    Frankly I don’t think we should be fooled into thinking this is “gubment” charity (those days are long gone). I see it as mainly public relations, a way of keeping future NBAers invested in their would-have-been alma maters.

  • SCHoosier

    I agree with this…you buy a ticket and you take your chances. I do applaud the four year commitment for everyone else. I’m assuming that some kid who jumps ship for the pros’ and returns..gets his education paid for but that “scholarship” does not count against the number for recruits eligible to to play.??

  • calbert40

    Since when does a school give out a four year scholarship? They are year to year in athletics and academics in most circumstances. I had one of each, and I only maintained one for my four years in school. This would be difficult in basketball, but imagine what this would do to football programs.

    This is nothing more than a reactionary outcome to the issue. Cover the true cost to attend college, and be done with it. Going so far as to guarantee a scholarship to players who go pro early? That’s just stupid.

  • Gregory Spera

    So much for scholarship limits. A team like Kentucky, were they have four or five NBA early entries a year… in just a few seasons of this, they will have maybe 30 basketball players on scholarship.

  • Alford Bailey

    Oladipo Hall?? Zeller Pavilion??

  • Alford Bailey

    Agree

  • calbert40

    I didn’t think about that, but you are certainly right.

  • Hoosier Hall

    What’s Lebron say about it? There’s probably an ESPN spread on it…