With the long-awaited era of autonomy officially underway, several key pieces of legislation were passed on Saturday in Maryland at the NCAA convention.
The key measure of the day, was the topic of full cost of attendance. According to ESPN, the only school to vote “no” on the issue was Boston College of the ACC, but it passed with overwhelming support, 79-1.
As many know, in the past, colleges were accused of significantly devaluing the full cost of attendance for its student-athletes. But with the new legislation, schools will be allowed to determine what the actual costs of attending school are, and potentially use those metrics as recruiting tools.
The University of Texas – Austin was the first of the Power 5 schools to pass the increase last year, where its student-athletes will receive up to $5,000 per year.
“It’s a big day for student-athletes,” said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “The benefits now available to student-athletes are more significant. This is a big step forward and a response to a changing circumstance for the 21st-century athlete.”
Another article on the table that passed, was the proposal that guaranteed four-year scholarships couldn’t be reduced or revoked for performance-based issues, or if an athlete failed to reach athletic expectations. This was opposed by the Big 12 and the SEC and came with mixed reviews, as student-athlete representatives from the respective conferences said it would allow deadweight and bad attitudes to bring down team morale.
“There’s always the guy who didn’t fail a drug test, he’s not ineligible, he didn’t break a specific team rule, he’s always at every practice and meeting but his attitude is terrible and he needs to go.” Said Oklahoma Center Ty Darlington. “It will end up tying the hands of coaches.”
“I don’t have an academic scholarship,” University of Tennessee Volunteers’ women’s basketball player Diamond DeShields said. “You get to the institution based on your athletic performance. That’s why we’re here.”
The SEC-introduced Concussion Management Protocol passed despite requests by the Big 12 conference to have the issue tabled until further evaluation and exploration had been done. The proposal initially contained language that gave medical professionals “unchallengeable authority” to make medical decisions about student-athletes’ concussive issues.
Texas Longhorns’ athletic director Steve Patterson was noticeably agitated that the initial specifications had been removed, saying “Why can’t we get it clear, that the medical personnel are in charge?”
The final component to wrap up the major details from Saturday’s conference, was allowing student-athletes to borrow against their future earnings. This, too, came with mixed reviews, as many immediately translated the language into an NCAA-run student loan program, but its intent is for loss of value insurance.
Legislation is a continued work in progress, however, student-athletes now have a voice at the table, which includes 15 of the 80 votes. As autonomy begins to take effect, hopefully now we’ll begin to see a more unified front throughout the college athletics landscape.
*Section Photo credit to Jamie Squire, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Sports Illustrated