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NCAA waves goodbye to hardship waivers; ‘Big Five’ leagues a step closer to autonomy

Apr 24, 2014, 4:13 PM EDT


The Division I Board of Directors is now one step closer to changing the power structure of the NCAA to grant more autonomy to the “Big Five”¬†conferences, as the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC were referred to in the NCAA’s release.

It’s not a secret that the teams in the biggest conferences also have the biggest budgets, and the Board of Directors endorsed the idea of allowing the Big Five the chance to provide their student-athletes with the kind of benefits that have been pushed for in recent years:

  • Enough financial aid and scholarship money to cover the full cost of attendance
  • Insurance policies, including those that protect future earnings
  • More academic support, especially for at-risk¬†athletes
  • Continuing education and medical care
  • Travel for families, free tickets to athletics events, and other expenses associated with practice and competition (such as parking)

Those will go to a final vote in August.

The other noteworthy aspect of today’s release from the NCAA is that hardship waivers granting immediate eligibility to transfers will now be a thing of the past. “Qualifying student-athletes who cannot transfer and play immediately without a waiver will be allowed a sixth year to complete their four years of eligibility,” the NCAA said in the release. In other words, the players will not be held to current NCAA standard that four years of eligibility must be used up in a five-year window.


  1. cupajoe32 - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:49 PM

    This really hurts schools in the “new big east” and the American Athletic Conf…. how is this good for the game?

  2. florida727 - Apr 25, 2014 at 7:25 AM

    Couple thoughts…

    1) Why grant a sixth year to complete eligibility when, except in very specific circumstances like a coach leaving, it’s the ATHLETE’S choice to transfer? Why cater to them? Hold them accountable for the decision THEY originally made.

    2) Free travel for parents? So I live in Florida but want my 6′ 11″ shooting guard with unlimited range that cans 53.4% of his 3-pointers and 97% of his free throws to go to UCLA. You going to fly me and my wife cross-country for every home game and to every road game? Absurd. If the family is that close-knit, my kid can go to USF or Gainesville and I can get in my car and drive to see him play.

    3) Insurance policies? If the kid is that gifted that he’s a virtual lock as a lottery pick or NFL 1st-rounder, he can get his own insurance policy. Why have that cost heaped onto the “institute of higher learning” when it has NOTHING to do with EDUCATION… you know, the #1 reason kids are supposed to go to college for? You going to take out a policy for the astrophysicist in case they break a finger and can no longer type their life-altering changes into a computer? Yeah. Ridiculous comparison. So is paying for a STUDENT-athlete’s insurance policy.

    I’m more convinced than ever before that the NCAA is scared. They’re afraid these power conferences will break away from being under their control and form their own governing body and it would cost them, literally, BILLIONS of dollars in revenue. So they’re about to bend over backwards and give them whatever they “ask” for.

    Remember what the Bible says… money is not the root of all evil; it’s the LOVE OF money that is the root of all evil.

  3. shakau2 - Apr 25, 2014 at 11:56 AM

    Nothing but bad winds blowing across the college sports landscape. The end is certainly near, professional sports just gained dozens & dozens of new franchises – on college campuses all over the country.

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