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Pac-12 Adopts Student-Athlete Reforms, Guarantees Four-Year Scholarships

Jeremy Bergman |
October 27, 2014 | 4:42 p.m. PDT

Sports Director

After much anticipation, the Pac-12 Conference universities announced today that they have adopted new reforming measures regarding student-athletes, namely that they will be guaranteed four-year scholarships.

The announcement comes nearly five months after the university leaders outlined a letter describing their intended principles.

The five notable emasures passed today are:

  • Athletic scholarships will be guaranteed for four years for student-athletes in all sports (effective in 2015-16 season).
  • Student-athletes who leave school before graduating will be able to use the remainder of their educational expenses later to earn their degrees (effective in 2016-17).
  • Medical expenses for student-athletes who are injured during their college athletic careers will be covered for up to four years after a student-athlete leaves the institution (effective in 2015-16). Conference schools will be required to provide direct medical expenses for documented athletically related injuries to former student-athletes for a period of four years after separation from the team or institution.
  • Student-athletes who transfer between Pac-12 institutions will be able to receive athletic scholarships immediately (effective immediately).
  • Student-athletes will be represented in the Conference governance structure, council meetings (clarified in 2015).

The Pac-12 is the first of the Power 5 conferences (Big Ten, Big XII, ACC, SEC included) to enact such radical measures, though the Big Ten expressed desire to follow suit earlier this year. 

Since the NCAA allowed administrative autonomy to the Power 5 conferences in August, the Pac-12 and the other four conferences have been planning reforms to improve relationships with their current and future athletes. 

On the reforms, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott offered, "As a former student-athlete myself, I believe these reforms will mean a great deal to student-athletes in the Pac-12. These reforms will ensure they enjoy a positive collegiate sports experience, and graduate with a meaningful college degree. This set of reforms also addresses various health and financial concerns that student-athletes have expressed to me in the many conversations I’ve had with them, while preserving the essence of the collegiate experience that has served so many student-athletes so well.

"I am very proud of the national leadership position our presidents, chancellors, athletics directors, senior women administrators, faculty athletic representatives, and other administrators have taken.”

The conference is also in favor of incorporating the full cost of attendance for all Pac-12 student-athletes and will continue to examine "time commitment" reforms in later months.

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