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Proposals recommend more benefits for Division I student-athletes

Division I scholarship definition could change

Division I student-athletes could soon receive additional help for college-related expenses beyond what they already get through a scholarship.

The schools within five conferences – the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern – will vote in January on a proposal to change financial aid rules to further benefit student-athletes. It is one of four related proposals to be considered at the 2015 NCAA Convention in January.

These schools now have the flexibility to propose and adopt rules within a set of specific categories as part of the new Division I governance structure.

All five conferences sponsored the measure, which would redefine a full athletics scholarship to cover those expenses federally defined as “cost of attendance.”  These expenses include supplies, transportation and related items in addition to tuition and fees, room and board and required course-related books. The value of these benefits can differ from campus to campus .

The SEC also has sponsored two amendments to the scholarship idea – one that would establish a national reporting system for annual variances in cost of attendance figures at each school and another that maintains a form of the current rule for determining team scholarship limits.

Other proposals include:

  • An ACC-sponsored measure that would allow student-athletes to borrow against their future earnings potential to purchase loss-of-value insurance.
  • Another ACC proposal that would prevent schools from failing to renew aid for any athletics-related reason.
  • An SEC recommendation that would strengthen requirements for schools related to concussion management, including requiring submission and approval of every school’s concussion procedures to a Concussion Safety Protocol Committee.

The group will also consider two resolutions, one outlining a vision for the future of college sports and another setting priorities within that vision. The resolutions include concepts such as lifetime education for current and former student-athletes, as well as comprehensive medical and academic support for student-athletes. The two proposed resolutions contain similar content and could be combined over the next few weeks.

Three student-athletes from each conference and the 65 individual schools will cast votes on the proposals and resolutions during a business session scheduled for the 2015 NCAA Convention in January. If approved by the five conferences, the schools in the remaining 27 Division I conferences can apply the new rules to their own programs if they or their conferences choose.

A subcommittee of the Division I Board of Directors will review the list of proposals, amendments and resolutions to be sure they fall within the specific categories in which the five conferences are allowed to make changes.

The complete proposals and resolutions will be published in an official notice available for membership comment by Dec. 15.