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Access to mental health services guaranteed by autonomy conferences

A5 conferences also commit to change agent rules by January 2020

Student-athletes in the Division I autonomy conferences are guaranteed access to mental health services and resources after legislation requiring it was adopted at the 2019 NCAA Convention. NCAA Photos

Student-athletes in the Division I autonomy conferences are guaranteed access to mental health services and resources under legislation adopted unanimously by the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern conferences at the 2019 NCAA Convention.

The rule change is the latest move to improve the college experience for student-athletes and underscores the commitment to all aspects of student-athlete health.

The legislation requires all schools to make mental health services and resources available through the athletics department or the school’s health services or counseling services department.  In addition, schools must distribute to student-athletes mental health educational materials and resources, including a guide to the mental health services and resources available at the school and information about how to access them.

The proposal was sponsored by the Pac-12 Conference. Erik Price, associate commissioner for compliance, introduced the proposal.

“This is the No. 1 issue facing our student-athletes on campus today. There is no school in this room that hasn’t already recognized this,” Price said. “Creative solutions are popping up everywhere, including from student-athletes who are destigmatizing anxiety, depression and other disorders that are so prevalent on our campuses. … We’d like to put in the manual, etch into it, a commitment to these services.”

Kayla Ellis, a student-athlete who competes in women’s volleyball at Oregon State, concurred.

“Just as important as physical well-being is mental well-being,” she said. “There are a lot of pressures that come along with sports, and this is … important to move us forward.”

The rule will take effect Aug. 1.

Additionally, team meetings now are allowed during the week immediately following the season, which previous legislation required to be free of athletically related activities. This change is effective immediately.

The autonomy conferences also adopted a resolution committing to bring forward specific legislative proposals that will redefine agent and advisor rules to assist student-athletes with career planning and decision making.

The resolution also committed the conferences to work collaboratively with the rest of Division I, including the Division I Council and other relevant organizations, to bring forward legislative proposals regarding tryouts with professional teams, and proposals in any other area of legislation applicable to the career planning. 

“As we modernize rules in this area we want to help students, not hurt them by creating eligibility traps,” said Chad Hawley, associate commissioner at the Big Ten Conference. All five conferences sponsored the resolution.

The resolution committed the conferences to sponsoring and adopting legislation in these areas by the 2020 NCAA Convention.

Proposal Source What would change? Action
2018-110 — Meals for GA in women’s rowing and swimming and diving. Atlantic Coast Conference For graduate assistant coaches in women’s rowing and swimming and diving, would replace training table meals with meals incidental to organized team activities. Adopted, 65-0-5. Effective Aug. 1, 2019.
2018-111 — Replace “relatives” and “parents or legal guardians” with “family members.” Atlantic Coast Conference Would replace the terms “relatives” and “parents or legal guardians” with “family members” in all autonomy provisions. Adopted, 69-0-1.
2018-112 — Housing and meals during required summer athletic activities for student-athletes not enrolled in summer school. Big 12 Conference Would allow schools to provide room and board to incoming student-athletes participating in required summer athletic activities before initial summer school enrollment and to student-athletes participating in summer activities who aren’t enrolled in summer school. Adopted, 62-16-2. Effective immediately.
2018-113 — Housing and meals during required summer athletic activities before enrollment. Big Ten Conference Would allow schools to provide room and board to incoming student-athletes participating in required summer athletic activities before initial summer school enrollment. Rendered moot by the Division I Council’s adoption of 2018-42.
2018-115 — Game tickets during official visits. Southeastern Conference Would reduce, from six to five, the maximum number of free home game tickets a prospective student-athlete can receive during an official visit. Adopted, 57-12-1. Effective Aug. 1, 2019.
2018-116 — Game tickets during unofficial visits Big 12 Conference Would allow schools to reserve tickets in addition to the maximum number of free tickets for the use of additional people with a prospective student-athlete on an unofficial visit. The tickets would be offered at face value. Adopted, 62-7-1. Effective Aug. 1, 2019.
2018-117 — Parking on unofficial visit. Atlantic Coast Conference Would allow schools to arrange for special parking on unofficial visits. Defeated, 47-23-0.
2018-118 — Requiring access to mental health services. Pac-12 Conference Would require schools to provide student-athletes access to mental health services. Adopted, 80-0-0. Effective Aug. 1, 2019.
2018-119 — Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Big 12 Conference Would allow schools to provide omega-3 fatty acids to student-athletes. Adopted, 70-0-0. Effective immediately.
2018-120 — Team meetings during the seven-day required break from athletically related activities after a season ends. Atlantic Coast Conference Would allow a team to have an end-of-season team meeting during the required week off from athletically related activities, provided no countable athletically related activities occur. Adopted, 62-18-0. Effective immediately.
R-2018-1 — Commitment to bring forward legislation related to agents. Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern conferences Commits the conferences to bringing forward legislation changing amateurism rules related to engagement with agents by the 2020 NCAA Convention. Adopted, 74-2-4.
  • Passage of a proposal, amendment or other motion requires at least a majority of yes votes from three separate conferences in combination with at least 48 yes votes from student-athlete delegates and school voters, or a majority of four separate conferences, along with at least 41 yes votes from student-athletes and school voters.
  • An abstention has the same effect as a “no” vote in calculations toward a majority of conference members.