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Big Ten Proposes Enhanced Benefits For Student Athletes

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Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten released a statement yesterday that it has notified the NCAA  of initial recommendations "designed to provide enhanced benefits for student-athletes... as part of the NCAA's new autonomy structure".

The enhanced benefits are below:

  • Cost of Education: Redefine full grant-in-aid to meet a student-athlete's cost of education, as determined by the federal government.
  • Multi-Year Scholarships: Guarantee all scholarships. If a student-athlete is no longer able to compete, for whatever reason, there should be no impact on institutions' commitment to deliver an undergraduate education.
  • Lifetime Educational Commitment: Ensure that scholarships are available for life. If a student-athlete leaves a university for a professional career before graduating, whether the career materializes, and regardless of its length, the scholarship will be honored after his or her playing days are complete.
  • Medical Insurance: Provide improved, consistent medical insurance for student-athletes.
  • The Big Ten has also agreed to address additional student-athlete welfare issues including, but not limited to, health and safety, time demands and comprehensive academic support by way of a "Resolution" that creates a specific pathway and timeline for implementation.

The recommendations are those that the Big Ten has been advocating for a couple years now, and falls in line with what the league proposed as part of the autonomy vote that occurred during the offseason. These are good ideas as the Power Five conferences are the richest conferences, and they should be doing more for student athletes.

What will be interesting to watch - how quickly the NCAA and the Power Five conferences actually implement any kind of real change. The Big Ten has yet to negotiate their next TV contract, yet they're already projecting revenue of around $44.5M per school for the 2017-2018 year. That is the first year Nebraska receives its full piece of the Big Ten pie.

That's a huge bump UNLESS the TV sports contract bubble bursts before then and the Big Ten doesn't see that huge increase.

These changes will cost athletic departments plenty. Remember that the Big Ten shares revenue equally amongst schools, unlike the Big 12, so schools like Purdue will still see a huge boost in revenue whereas a school such as Iowa State won't see an equal increase in whatever TV contract the Big 12 can come up with.

This could lead to an elimination in Olympic sports at schools who can't afford the changes.

Watch the timing, though, whether or not they do something before the next wave of TV contracts.

The Big Ten is leading the charge here - you think the SEC is interested in providing four-year scholarships, even if they're academic-based after an athlete gets "cut" or injured?