The fight for collegiate athletes' rights took a drastic turn Monday.
Indiana University Vice President and Director of Athletics Fred Glass revealed a 10-point Student-Athlete Bill of Rights for IU student-athletes. The document features the following 10 points:
1. Cost of education
2. Four year scholarship commitment regardless of injury, illness or athletic performance
3. Lifetime degree guarantee
4. Comprehensive academic support
5. Comprehensive health, safety and wellness
6. Comprehensive athletic support
7. Comprehensive leadership and life skills development
8. A culture of trust and respect
9. A collective voice
10. Cutting edge technology
An Indiana Athletics press release Friday said the Bill of Rights is "a first-of-its-kind document."
A statement from IU President Michael A. McRobbie said the following:
"For all of its nearly 200 years, Indiana University has been a higher education leader in teaching, research, academic freedom and international engagement, as well as athletics including producing the first African American to be drafted into pro football and breaking the Big Ten's color barrier in men's basketball. That visionary leadership continues with today's publication of the first ever Student-Athlete Bill of Rights."
The Lifetime Degree Guarantee program, in conjunction with the "Hoosiers for Life" program, vows IU will pay the undergraduate degree tuition for athletes who leave school early for a family emergency, a professional career or another reason in good standing. The program is offered to "any former student-athlete who was eligible for at least two seasons."
The Four Year Scholarship Commitment. As USC did last week, Indiana is now promising four-year scholarships upon enrolling for athletes in good standing. Injury, illness or a failure to achieve athletic potential will not count an student-athlete's tenure short.
The Collective Voice portion allows student-athletes a chance each semester to meet with the athletic director and will receive the annual athletic director report given to the Board of Trustees. IU student-athletes are also provided permanent representation on the Bloomington Faculty Council and an advisory role on any search for a new head coach or athletics director.
As part of the comprehensive health safety and wellness, IU student-athletes will be provided free physical medical exams at the start of every season. Indiana will also provide free medical service for dental, vision, psychological, rehabilitation and related issues.
In terms of the comprehensive academic support, IU student-athletes will be provided unlimited access to the D. Ames Shuel Academic Center. Student-athletes will also have free access to tutors, mentors, study tables, career development programming, disability support services and other academic benefits.
Comprehensive leadership and life skills development will allow student-athletes to take part the Indiana University Excellence Academy Speaker Series, the Indiana University Excellence Academy Internship Program, specialized social media training and other opportunities.
In terms of cutting-edge technology, all IU student-athletes will be given an iPad and an official IU athletic blazer. Internal internships will also be offered.
From a broad sense, life for Indiana student-athletes is not likely to change tomorrow. However, the text of the document is groundbreaking for NCAA athletics. Indiana student-athletes now have a hard copy of a document to cite if the university ever breaks part of the code. Indiana recruits will not have to worry about the university pulling a fast one on them, stripping scholarships or disrespecting athletes, upon enrollment.
While many universities have adopted written rules pertaining to many of the areas mapped out in the IU Student-Athlete Bill of Rights, Indiana's is now the most precise. It may not be long before another university joins the Big Ten University in scripting a Bill of Rights for student-athletes.
This news comes five months and two days after Kain Colter unveiled the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA) and the idea of student-athletes unionization to the world.
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