The game of collegiate athletics will, officially, never be the same again.
In a series of votes in the affirmative that have long been expected, a handful of initiatives were voted into effect at an NCAA convention in Washington D.C. Saturday afternoon. Among the initiatives that were approved were schools being required to make up the difference for the full cost of attendance that an athletic scholarship doesn’t cover as well as four-year guaranteed scholarship (with some stipulations).
The former proposal passed by a vote of 79-1, with the lone dissenter being a school from the ACC. The latter, which guarantees that scholarships can’t be reduced or canceled for athletics reasons, was not nearly as unanimous as both the Big 12 and SEC both voted against it. The multi-year scholarships will replace the current model, which had been a one-year scholarship renewable on a yearly basis.
And, in actuality, the scholarship guarantee came very close to not being approved.
Because of the guaranteed scholarship, schools will not be permitted to rid their roster of a player who they deem to be underachieving athletically. Academics or off-the-field issues, including but not limited to failed drug tests and arrests, would allow schools the opportunity to strip a player of his/her scholarship.
Of the 80 voters in attendance at the historic convention, 15 are student-athletes — three each from the Power Five conferences. The other 65 voters represent each of the Power Five schools, a group that includes, the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC and Notre Dame.
The measures adopted today apply only to the Power Five schools. However, conferences that make up the Group of Five could adopt the legislation as well.
Other measures that were voted on and approved included new concussion management protocols, allowing athletes to borrow against future earnings and allowing schools to purchase loss-of-value insurance for players without using student assistance fund. The last two initiatives passed unanimously while there were 16 votes against the concussion protocols because it was felt they didn’t go far enough to protect athletes.