As many of you know by now, the Big Ten released a statement today regarding where they stand on full-cost scholarships, pay-for-play, medical insurance, etc. Here were the main points directly from that statement (in which there were 14 beautiful signatures that should probably be ranked at some point):
This is why we propose working within the NCAA to provide greater academic security and success for our student-athletes:
- We must guarantee the four-year scholarships that we offer. If a student-athlete is no longer able to compete, for whatever reason, there should be zero impact on our commitment as universities to deliver an undergraduate education. We want our students to graduate.
- If a student-athlete leaves for a pro career before graduating, the guarantee of a scholarship remains firm. Whether a professional career materializes, and regardless of its length, we will honor a student's scholarship when his or her playing days are over. Again, we want students to graduate.
- We must review our rules and provide improved, consistent medical insurance for student-athletes. We have an obligation to protect their health and well-being in return for the physical demands placed upon them.
- We must do whatever it takes to ensure that student-athlete scholarships cover the full cost of a college education, as defined by the federal government. That definition is intended to cover what it actually costs to attend college.
This is all pretty straight forward stuff, right? Well, kind of. Obviously the B1G is trying to get in front of the O'Bannon case no matter how it ends. Additionally, this seems to be what a conference who has oodles of cash would want to say to both a) keep that pile of cash, and b) make sure they're covering their asses in case someone thinks that buildings are better than students, or something like that.
I really don't have a lot of time to pontificate about the ramifications of this yet. I'm still getting my thoughts together on what benefits there are on all of the sides, but I do want to invite you to tune into BTN at 7:30 Eastern/6:30 Central tonight as there will be a special report including interviews with Emperor Delany and Sally Mason, current Iowa President and chair of the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors. Let's call this space a B1G Student Athlete Open Thread for the evening. I'm sure we'll have more thoughts in the days ahead, especially in light of what comes next.