NCAA President Mark Emmert is perpetrating a fallacy on the public. He would like College athletic fans to believe a scholarship athlete is getting a fair value for the effort they are putting in. As we are finding out, this is not the case and many state governments are beginning to take notice.
California and Connecticut have passed legislation that will require colleges in those states to disclose the fine print of athletic scholarships. This is because of several problems stemming from these scholarships and won’t they don’t cover.
The new laws require Universities to disclose to recruits the policies concerning the standards for scholarship renewals, sports-related medical expenses, and out-of-pocket expenses that students on athletic scholarships are expected to pay. Schools must post these details on the Internet and make that link available to recruits.
Ohio State wide receiver James Jackson was asked to transfer after his sophomore season because the Buckeyes had a numbers problem. Jackson was told he wouldn’t be playing and it might be better to leave.
Jackson said he didn’t understand when he was being recruited that all scholarships are only good for a year at a time. Scholarships are also subject to renewal at the discretion of the school. He was never told that he might be asked to leave if the school wanted his scholarship for someone else.
Ramogi Huma, a former UCLA linebacker, helped sponsor the legislation in California. He said he wasn’t aware of all the expenses he would be responsible for in college, such as phone bills and transportation and medical insurance.
“Recruiters are fueling a lot of myths,” he said. “Chief among them is the four-year scholarship. Four-year scholarships don’t exist, so this bill will show recruits the truth and point out things they need to consider when making a choice.”
According to reports, it can cost a student up to $5,000 a year or more out of pocket to pay for school expenses that are not covered with a full scholarship. Because that amount varies so widely among schools, those who keep those costs down will now have a competitive advantage. Under the new laws, schools will have to spell out the differences between costs covered under scholarship, and the total yearly expenses of attending the school. This could lead to athletes going to a school where the out of pocket is less.
Democrat Connecticut State Rep. Pat Dillon said she became aware of this scholarship issue when an unnamed constituent was injured while on scholarship, then discovered the school would not pay her sports-related medical expenses.
The NCAA said it requires athletes have insurance coverage for athletically related injuries up to $90,000. After that, the NCAA Catastrophic Injury Insurance Program kicks in. Some schools provide athletes with health insurance; others require parents or the students to pay for it. Another out of pocket expense most athletes don’t expect.
A growing majority still clamor for athletes to be able to be paid in one way or another. Meanwhile the NCAA is putting the clamps down on players as much as they can. However story after story shows how one-sided the system is, in favor of the Schools and the governing body.
However it’s looked at, the NCAA has a continuing problem. One that is likely to be handled by individual states and it might not be fixed in a way the NCAA or Universities like.
To nobody’s surprise, spokesman Erik Christianson said in an email the NCAA has taken no position on the new laws.