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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

NCAA_Logo AP

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.

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