Big Ten informs NCAA of recommended reforms; IU announces quantification of scholarships

  • 10/01/2014 8:57 pm in

The Big Ten Conference announced on Wednesday afternoon it has informed the NCAA of several reformations to student-athlete benefits it wishes to enact, similar to those in the IU Student-Athlete Bill of Rights released in July.

The conference has proposed giving its student-athletes full cost-of-education financial aid, guaranteed four-year scholarships, lifetime scholarships that will allow former student-athletes to complete their degree should they leave school early to pursue professional careers and “improved, consistent” medical insurance.

According to a release from the conference, it hopes to achieve these proposals through individual institutional action, conference-wide action or under the new NCAA semi-autonomy structure, which grants the major five conferences — the Big Ten, ACC, SEC, Pac-12 and Big 12 — more authority to create their own governing rules.

The proposals were first raised by Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany at the Big Ten Football Media Day in July 2013 and were designed to enhance the quality of student-athlete life while maintaining amateur status and educationally-sponsored intercollegiate athletics in a time period in which support for pay-for-play and student-athlete unionization models have been growing.

“I know athletes at a younger and younger age are asked to select a sport or either select a sport and that they train for it very rigorously,” he said at the time. “And this is not just an American phenomena. I think it’s an international phenomenon. So I want to make sure that our rules, regulations, constraints, and standards are properly balanced so that once a student is admitted, he or she has the opportunity to do what they need to do academically to continue to move forward.”

This past July, IU led the NCAA in enacting student-athlete benefits reform by producing its Student-Athlete Bill of Rights, a document which ensures student-athletes at IU will have access to a lifetime degree assurance (in which former student-athletes can return to finish their degree with the University paying for their tuition, books and fees), a guaranteed four-year scholarship and full cost-of-education aid, among other reforms.

The move, according to IU vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics Fred Glass, was to give student-athletes greater rights while giving the University more accountability. IU was the first school to produce such a document.

“We developed the Bill of Rights to identify not only what we were currently doing for our student-athletes but what we should be doing,” Glass said at the time of the release. “We have committed to this extensive set of benefits and set it out transparently in writing, so that we can be held accountable for them by our student-athletes and other stakeholders such as our faculty and trustees. While no other school has done this, we hope that others will follow for the betterment of the student-athlete experience.”

Following the Big Ten’s move to pursue similar reforms conference-wide, Indiana on Wednesday afternoon released for the first time its estimates on the cost of four-year scholarships for both in-state and out-of-state students in order to help the “understanding of the true value of an athletics scholarship and the college degree it makes possible.”

For in-state student-athletes, IU estimated a $135,766 value, while for out-of-state student-athletes the University estimated $240,274 goes into a four-year scholarship. And outside of tuition and fees, those scholarships include room and board, books, academic services, food and nutrition, general medical wellness, summer school and fifth-year aid and computer labs and other technologies, among costs.

“I think what gets lost is the conversation today is what really is the value of a scholarship,” Glass told Inside the Hall on Wednesday evening. “Not just the room, board and tuition but all the other things that we do that are reflected in that quantification, that document. So people can make their own judgments but I thought it was important, primarily to inform.”

Glass, an advocate of the collegiate model, said a pay-for-play system could result in the loss of scholarships and entire teams and has in turn provided more student-athlete benefits within the current NCAA framework. He also welcomed the Big Ten’s announcement on Wednesday that such reforms should spread league-wide.

“We understand what the reform agenda is for those who are trying to fix or improve the collegiate model, and we’re hand-in-glove with what the Big Ten is doing,” Glass said. “Jim Delany and the Big Ten have been at the forefront of all of this. They’ve been talking about it before anyone was talking about it. So, clearly, we endorse that and we’re certainly inspired by that with our Bill of Rights.”

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  • Benhyoung14

    Im wondering why IU is putting so much into this? Ulterior motives? Are other universities already doing this and this a way of leveling the playing field? There seams to be more to it than just increasing student athlete rights.

  • Kwang

    Northwestern football players trying to form a union. Now the separate schools are doing preemptive strikes.

  • Zach

    Definitely a positive for all across the board. Plus as of now, it can be used as a major recruiting advantage for IU until other schools catch up and do something similar.

  • Alford Bailey

    I’m sorry but it is NOT my responsibility as a taxpayer or fan to educate an individual years down the road after he or she chooses to leave behind their scholarship. If its an illness or injury while on scholarship I can see it. Otherwise, in the real world there are consequences for your actions. Choose but choose wisely. Just another example of “gubment” giving a handout it can’t afford.

  • ForeverIU

    Would you prefer “pay-for-play and student-athlete unionization models”? Because that’s I think what this article is suggesting might be a likely alternative to the new system that’s being put in place.

  • Scholarships at IU are varsity club funded, not taxpayer funded.

  • Alford Bailey

    Some sort of pay for play while the athlete is under scholarship at the school makes more sense than this open ended promise. $240,000 now will be $500,000 before long. A knee jerk reaction without much thought for the possible long term consequences IMO. Which is the typical government mode of operation. I’m not sure this works anyway. I think universities will still end up paying for play even if this goes through.

  • Ole Man

    Al, most of the time, I find your comments spot on, but this is one time I have to disagree.
    Gov’t involvement at many levels is a preventative and saves taxpayer money.
    Now, enough politics on the board. 🙂

  • TomJameson

    Well Ole Man, you can’t get your dig in and then say no more, so here is a one-line rebuttal … then you can say no more. Gov’t involvement at many levels slows down the economy, and costs taxpayer money. 🙂 Always at least two sides to every coin, LOL

  • The government isn’t paying for athletic scholarships at IU. They’re paid for by varsity club donations.

  • Alford Bailey

    Ok, so here is my question, the next time IU has an out of state kid leave after one year is the Varsity Club gonna put away $180000(value of the remaining 3 years of scholarship) in an investment in case they have to educate this kid in the future? That is the only way to stay out of trouble on a promise like this.

  • Alford Bailey

    Ok, so the fan pays for this through a Varsity Club membership.

  • ForeverIU

    I agree Ole Man, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with political discussions as long as they don’t turn into partisan bashing. Issues are complex, and I don’t think it helps to reduce them to cliched political rhetoric. I, for one, learn a lot from these discussions from people who are more versed in history and nuance than I am.

  • ForeverIU

    I bet the financial experts have thought up a system of sorts.

  • IUDan

    I’m quite sure the athletic department has done their due diligence on this … My guess is that this affects a pretty small population, since most players who leave transfer to another school … Or leave because they are not in good academic standing

  • MK

    “Ulterior motive” – An alternative or extrinsic reason for doing something, especially when concealed or when differing from the stated or apparent reason.

    I don’t think they are trying to hide what they are doing, in fact I think it is pretty clear and obvious. They are trying to make IU a more attractive place for a student athlete to commit to in order to get top talent. By being more transparent, they are taking away potential questions that parents, athletes, and their advisors may ask.

  • Which is a lot different than being paid by taxpayers considering a Varsity Club membership is optional and paying taxes isn’t.

  • IUMIKE1

    Ok, my agreeing with you again, besides worrying me a little, has me thinking, I’m not leaning in your direction and you’re not leaning in my direction, let’s just say that we’re both leaning a little more toward the center on certain subjects. lol Yea, if it is a situation where the unused portion of a scholly that is given can be used up no matter how long down the road it is, your point of it costing a lot more several years after it was originally given is an excellent point and one that I would be very interested in knowing if it is a point that they have taken into account. Just saying these are all smart people and they surely have is not the right approach to take on this. I can see there being some changes to what is provided and how it is provided after the scholly is given, cause there needed to be some change in that, but an open ended promise with basically no restrictions is a little over the top IMHO. I’m also with you in that I see this having little to no effect when it comes to ending the pay for play thing that goes on at certain colleges around Lexington. They’ve always done it and they always will. In fact this may just be the kind of encouragement that they need to take it even further than they have in the past….if that is possible.

  • banarish

    Maybe I’ve read it wrong, but it sounds like the ‘lifetime scholarship’ availability is only for those who leave IU early to go pro, and not for those who choose to transfer to another school.

  • inLinE6

    There’re only quantitative number of people (student athletes) who’re eligible to this open ended offer. We are not talking about the student body in general. Among those who are indeed eligible:

    1. If someone leaves early, he/she must be talented enough with promising professional career. They are unlikely to come back and finish the degree.
    2. If someone exhausts their 4 year eligibility but still can’t get a degree, they don’t want a degree anyways.
    3. For those between 1 and 2, there still won’t be many who’d choose to come back to school at their 30’s or 40’s. But even they do, they only have 1 or 2 years left, so we’re not leaving $180,000 aside for them.

    There’re a lot promises on the paper and looks very attractive. But in reality, not many people would actually benefit from it. It’s like your insurance benefit – there’re many coverage that you’d probably never have a chance to use. But you like the package and feel it’s a good insurance.

    I’d say this is a smart move by the school.

  • Alford Bailey

    You simply can’t leave a program open ended like this without a cap on cost. These things have a way of growing. What only affects a few right now may be a significantly higher number in 10 years. Education costs are out of control. Why do I feel like the guy who was saying Social Security was a bad idea in the 30s?

  • Alford Bailey

    good point

  • INUnivHoosier

    The real cost is not what they quoted. Most of that is sunk cost.

  • INUnivHoosier

    Agree. And in the near future, we can use it as a selling point that we were the first to do it when other schools offer similar programs.

  • INUnivHoosier

    To be clear, that is if the school were paying for it, which Alex has noted that they are not.

  • IUDan

    You make a fair point but I think the risk is very low … If anything I think this type of program will be more attractive to students who are much more likely to earn their degree. …

    I just don’t see it as a problem. An if the situation changes, this agreement can change along with it.

  • Alford Bailey

    Hey, great job this summer. You guys have kept me plugged into all IU basketball after a crappy season which I thought was impossible for me to do. Lots of thought provoking and very interesting topics. Well done my friend.

  • Alford Bailey

    Yea, a good portion of that cost has already occurred.

  • Alford Bailey

    Fair enough. It will be interesting to see how this affects recruiting, if at all.

  • IUDan

    To your point, AB, I wonder if the department is looking to fund the program with an endowment type of funding … Many athletic (an academic) scholarships are funded on an endowed basis, so it would be smart to look at this program the same way, and set aside money to hedge against increased costs going forward

  • Hawg49Pan

    Why, a lifetime scholarship? If an athlete deserts the school and leaves early for a professional career, possibly worth millions, why continue to give them a free education?