Bill of Rights

Indiana blazes a student-athlete ‘Bill of Rights’ trail


Just as the O’Bannon trial, which could (eventually) completely alter the landscape of collegiate athletics forever, is mercifully winding down, one university is taking a B1G step toward giving their current and future student-athletes a few morsels of what’s a very big and ever-growing Power Five financial pie.

In a press release titled “Indiana University Announces Unprecedented Student-Athlete Bill of Rights,” the school revealed what it describes as “a groundbreaking, 10-point document that sets forth the University’s commitment to student-athletes during their time at IU and beyond.”  The unveiling comes a couple of days after a statement from the Big Ten which said that they, along with other conferences across the country, must provide greater benefits to their student-athletes.

The conference wrote, in part, that “[w]e must guarantee the four-year scholarships that we offer” to those participating in collegiate athletics; as part of IU’s 10-prong rollout, and in what’s described as a “central feature of the Bill of Rights,” the school will, moving forward, provide what it calls the Lifetime Degree Guarantee. From the release:

Under the “Hoosiers for Life” program, Indiana University will pay the tuition (plus books and fees) for an IU undergraduate degree for any scholarship student-athlete who leaves school early to tend to a family emergency, pursue a professional athletics career, or for any other reason. This program is 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.

That is part of the overall commitment the school is making to provide, as its conference has “suggested,” guaranteed four-year scholarships to its student-athletes in — and this is the most important aspect — every sport, non-revenue and revenue sports alike.

IU Athletics is also making a Four Year Scholarship Commitment to every full head count scholarship student-athlete regardless of sport entering Indiana University to ensure that they have the time needed to earn an undergraduate degree. No athletic scholarship will be reduced because of injury, illness, physical or mental condition, or on the basis of a student-athlete’s ability, performance or contribution to the team’s success. While four-year scholarships were made permissible by the NCAA in 2011, most member schools have only selectively provided them.

Other aspects of the “Bill of Rights” include what’s being called a formal Collective Voice in which student-athletes will be a part of committees, including, but not limited to, search or advisory committees for new head coaches or athletic directors; IU student-athletes will also have access to cutting edge technology, including every student-athlete being supplied an iPad; and a Comprehensive Health Safety and Wellness program that only covers their illnesses or injuries while on scholarship.

(For all the minutia, click HERE)

“For all of its nearly 200 years, Indiana University has been a higher education leader in teaching, research, academic freedom and international engagement, as well as athletics including producing the first African-American to be drafted into pro football and breaking the Big Ten’s color barrier in men’s basketball,” said IU president Michael A. McRobbie in a statement. “That visionary leadership continues with today’s publication of the first ever Student-Athlete Bill of Rights.”

“We are proud to be the first higher education institution ever to publish a Student-Athlete Bill of Rights,” athletic director Fred Glass said. “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. 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.”

While it’s a laudable step taken by IU — one that every other school should follow — it has little relevance when it comes to the most important pieces of the collegiate athletics puzzle moving forward: the O’Bannon trial and the Northwestern union push. Those twin facets, not autonomy or too little, too late benefits being showered on student-athletes or anything else, will determine the face of college sports in the future.

Pair of Boilermakers arrested on weed, alcohol charges

SAFED, ISRAEL - MARCH 07: (ISRAEL OUT) A worker touches plants at a cannabis greenhouse at the growing facility of the Tikun Olam company on March 7, 2011 near the northern city of Safed, Israel. In conjunction with Israel's Health Ministry, Tikon Olam are currently distributing cannabis for medicinal purposes to over 1800 people in Israel. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)
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For the second time in less than a month, two members of the Purdue football program have found themselves on the wrong side of the law.

This time around it’s a pair of freshmen, linebacker Wyatt Cook and defensive end Chazmyn Turner, who are in a bit of a predicament, with the Indianapolis Star reporting that both players were arrested over the weekend. Cook was charged with minor consumption of alcohol while Turner was charged with possession of marijuana.

No details of what led to the arrests and charges were made public. The program is aware of the incident, but have not stated what if any punishment either could be facing.

Cook was a three-star member of this year’s recruiting class, Turner a two-star. Neither has played in a game this season.

In the middle of last month, two freshmen cornerbacks, Evyn Cooper and David Rose, were arrested and charged in connection to stolen bicycles. Those two were members of this year’s recruiting class as well.

Report: Texas likely to keep Hooking ‘Em with Nike, not Under Armour

Jerrod Heard

It is no secret that Under Armour is making a nice serious push in acquiring university apparel deals, but the Texas Longhorns is not one it will be likely to whisk away from The Swoosh. According to one report from the Austin American-Statesman, University of Texas officials broke off a meeting with Under Armour and are now expected to stay with Nike moving forward.

The University of Texas has been a partner with Nike since 2000. The contract between the two gives Nike an exclusive window in which it can match or improve on any offers made to the school from rival companies such as Under Armour or Adidas. It is unknown if Under Armour made a formal offer to Texas or how much such an offer could have been valued. What is pretty much commonly known is the Texas brand is still a nice asset in the athletics apparel business, even if the Longhorns are struggling on the football field. Having Texas wear your gear is still a quality investment, which makes Texas a highly sought-after commodity.

Per the American-Statesman report, Texas is expected to sign what would be the biggest deal currently going in collegiate athletics. Considering the handsome deal recently signed between Nike and Michigan, that would mean Texas would be looking forward to more than $169 million from Nike. Michigan signed a 15-year contract valued at $169 million, which will bring an end to its current relationship with Adidas in 2016. As part of the deal, Michigan will become the first football program to wear the Jordan brand logo on its football uniforms. Could Texas be the next? For now that is just something to ponder.

Nike recently lost partners at Arizona State and Miami. Last year Notre Dame began a new partnership with Under Armour, signing a $90 million contract.