Indiana announces student-athlete 'bill of rights'

Dr. Saturday
Indiana announces student-athlete 'bill of rights'
Indiana announces student-athlete 'bill of rights'

A few days after the Big Ten presidents released a statement calling for expanded athlete benefits, Indiana athletic director Fred Glass told the Indianapolis Star that the university will establish a “10-point student-athlete bill of rights.”

According to the Star, Indiana will guarantee a number of benefits for its athletes, effective immediately.

“Among the benefits, Indiana will now guarantee multiyear scholarships to full-scholarship athletes, offer significant financial support to former athletes who wish to return to IU to finish their degrees, increase its healthcare commitments to all athletes and provide all athletes with personal iPads.”

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Glass said the idea for the “bill of rights” emerged after a conversation he had with the parents of an IU volleyball recruit.

“It just started me reflecting on the fact that I didn’t think we had done a very good job of communicating what the benefits were of being a student-athlete,” Glass said. “I think it’s a big deal. Nobody’s ever done this.”

Glass told the Star that some of the bill of rights is simply a reminder of pre-existing policies, but other portions of the benefits are new. In the school’s official release, Glass said he hopes other schools follow Indiana’s lead.

“We developed the bill of rights to identify not only what we were currently doing for our student-athletes but what we should be doing,” Glass said in the school’s official release. “We have committed to this extensive set of benefits and set it out transparently in writing, so that we can be held accountable for them by our student-athletes and other stakeholders such as our faculty and trustees. While no other school has done this, we hope that others will follow for the betterment of the student-athlete experience.”

The release details IU’s plans for a lifetime degree guarantee for any student-athlete who leaves school early for any reason – including the pursuit of a professional athletic career. All scholarship athletes are guaranteed a four-year scholarship and IU will provide a “collective voice” that allows athletes the chance to communicate questions or concerns with the athletic department and weigh in on potential coaching hires.

Other portions of the bill of rights include increased health and wellness benefits completely free of charge (including walk-ons), academic support, and “comprehensive leadership and life skills development.”

An additional portion of the bill of rights, which includes the full cost of attendance, will require further authorization by the NCAA.

The Bill of Rights also commits to providing Indiana University Student-Athletes additional benefits once doing so is authorized by the NCAA. Specifically, IU will provide as part of their scholarships a miscellaneous expense allowance to cover the full cost of college attendance and will institute "dead periods" to provide student-athletes with more time outside athletics once these become permissible under NCAA rules.

“The cost of attendance piece, we’re not permitted to do that under NCAA rules,” Glass told the Star. “But it’s something that, when it happens – and I’m confident it will happen – it’s just something we should do.”

The implementation of the bill of rights won’t be cheap, but Glass said he is more than willing to absorb the extra costs because “it’s the right thing to do.”

“We’re the first school ever to do this bill of rights,” Glass said. It includes some things that are discretionary, that we don’t have to do, that are pretty costly. It’s the right thing to do, and we’re going to prioritize that.”

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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