SBD/June 30, 2014/Colleges

Indiana Univ. Introduces Student-Athlete Bill Of Rights, Which Includes Lifetime Guarantee

Indiana Univ. AD Fred Glass said that the athletic department will "immediately begin implementing a 10-point student-athlete bill of rights," according to Zach Osterman of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. IU will "now guarantee multiyear scholarships to full-scholarship athletes, offer significant financial support to former athletes who wish to return to IU to finish their degrees, increase its healthcare commitments to all athletes and provide all athletes with personal iPads." Some aspects of the bill of rights are "just clarifications of existing policies and some are innovative enough that Glass hopes other athletic departments might soon follow Indiana's lead." The benefits "could eventually cost millions of dollars per year but Glass believes the benefits far exceed the costs." Some of the biggest talking points from the bill of rights include IU offering what Glass calls the "Hoosiers for Life" program, a lifetime degree guarantee "open to any former student-athlete who was eligible for at least two seasons, left IU in good standing, did not transfer and is readmitted under university rules." Osterman noted IU will "cover tuition, books and fees for any former athletes who wish to return and complete their degree." IU also will "cover the cost of education with its full scholarships, picking up the tab on items, such as one-time fees, that it does not currently pay for." Sports with partial scholarships will "cover certain fees, such as the cost of books." Glass said that should cost of attendance scholarships "gain NCAA approval, Indiana's scholarships would increase to that level of financial support." IU's announcement "comes on the heels of a statement released earlier this week by the Big Ten's presidents and chancellors, supporting many similar reforms across intercollegiate athletics." The bill of rights will be "implemented immediately and coaches are free to use it as part of their pitch to recruits" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 6/28). ESPN.com's Josh Moyer noted the reforms "come in the wake of the Ed O'Bannon trial, which questions the NCAA's amateurism model." Improvements and changes "are in the forefront of the minds of many school presidents and athletic directors, and Glass believed such a bill was a long time coming." The bill is "retroactive so an Indiana baseball player in the 1970s can begin to finish up his degree or use the career placement facility immediately, as long as he meets the requirements" (ESPN.com, 6/27).
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