Dubbing it “The Maryland Way Guarantee,” the University of Maryland is blazing a trail on which most, if not all, Power Five conference schools will ultimately travel.
The university announced Tuesday morning that, beginning in November of this year, it will offer a lifetime degree guarantee for student-athletes in all sports. Maryland is one of the first, if not the first, to offer such a guarantee in all sports, not just the revenue-producers in football and basketball.
The historic program coincides with the school’s official move from the ACC to the Big Ten last month. It also comes a couple of weeks after a mediated settlement was reached in the lawsuits filed by both the school and its former conference.
“Our vision is to be the best intercollegiate athletic program while producing graduates who are prepared to serve as leaders in the local, state and global communities,” athletic director Kevin Anderson said in a statement. “We are confident ‘The Maryland Way Guarantee’ will further demonstrate our commitment to our student-athletes’ pursuit of a college degree.”
The school described the parameters of the program as follows:
Beginning in November of 2014-15, ‘The Maryland Way Guarantee’ will provide all incoming student-athletes with a multi-year scholarship guarantee. Pursuant to this program, should a student-athlete exhaust his or her eligibility prior to graduating, Maryland will guarantee his or her aid will continue through graduation. If a student-athlete is injured and unable to compete, we will guarantee his or her aid will continue through graduation.
Additionally, Maryland will provide tuition, books and fees for any student-athlete who leaves the institution in good academic standing and returns to complete his or her degree.
Again, student-athletes will be permitted, at no cost to them, to return to the university and obtain their degree at any point in their life. Previously, and as is the case all across the country in every sport, Maryland student-athletes were offered one-year scholarships, which were subject to renewal every year.
Kudos to Maryland for taking a step that the rest of the power conferences will eventually take as autonomy begins to take hold.