Earlier basketball start date, medical care among proposals passed at NCAA Convention

By Nathan Keil | Sports Editor

Last week at the annual NCAA convention in Indianapolis, members of the Division I committee passed legislation that will provide medical care to student athletes post graduation, move up the start of basketball season by three days and provide a mandatory three day break during the holiday season. and announced new proposals including post-graduate medical care for student athletes and moving up the start of basketball season so players are guaranteed a winter break. The convention ran Wednesday to Saturday and allowed Division I, II and III members to review proposals seeking to improve student-athletes’ college sports experience.

One of the proposals that was passed involved providing medical care for student-athletes for athletic related injuries that extends at least two years after a student graduates or leaves school.

Former Ole Miss baseball player Brady Bramlett and current chairman of the national Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee said the proposal is a victory for student-athletes because of the assurance it provides, especially for those who suffered injuries and continue to deal with the lingering effects of those injuries.

“As a student-athlete who had two surgeries in my career, having this assurance of medical care is critical,” Bramlett said.

The autonomy discussion forum consists of the autonomy conferences, the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern Conference (SEC). All 65 schools in the conference plus three student-athletes from each conference voted for the proposal. The medical care proposal passed on Friday with an overwhelming vote of 78-1 and will go into effect beginning Aug. 1.

Two other proposals passed, specifically surrounding the state of NCAA men’s and Women’s basketball.

The first one, which passed Wednesday, moves up the start of the 2018-2019 basketball season. The season will now begin Nov. 6 instead of Nov. 9.

Council chair and athletics director at the University of Miami (Florida) Blake James said the move would hopefully create a heightened sense of excitement around the start of the season, as well as allow for more flexibility in scheduling.

“The hope is that the change in start date for basketball will create an excitement around the tip-off of the season and provide better scheduling balance in the calendar,” James said during a council meeting Wednesday. “Because we didn’t increase the number of games, schools also will have more flexibility to provide students time off during the holidays.”

Baylor head coach Scott Drew said by moving up the start of the season and having it start during the week, it gives college basketball the spotlight for a few days without taking away from college football on Saturday.

“You avoid the football weekend plus it allows you to space your games out a little bit more,” Drew said. “Starting on a weekday gives you all the attention and the focus on college basketball, so I think it’s a great thing. Players always want to play sooner and so do coaches.”

That flexibility came to fruition on Friday when the council voted to require schools to provide student-athletes a three-day break during the winter vacation period. The legislation passed 61-18 in favor of the mandatory break.

Drew said he and his staff had already implemented this rule, but it will now serve as a benefit for those schools that haven’t done so yet.

“We always do that anyway, but that’s a great thing and it’s good that everyone has to abide by that now,” Drew said.

Other proposals impacting the Big 12 that passed included increasing the value from $100 or less to $200 or less of improper benefits that require restitution; a smaller increase in the allowance authorized for student-athletes who serve as hosts for visiting recruits; a graduate assistantship in swimming and diving; and benefits for volunteer coaches, including game tickets and meals during recruiting visits.

Rules surrounding transfers continues to be a main emphasis for the NCAA. In 2017, legislation was introduced that considered attempting to persuade a student-athlete to come to another school while already under scholarship at a school as a level 2 violation and would eliminate the ability for coaches and schools to prevent transfer students from receiving aid at their next school.

The NCAA is still working to put together a proposal that would package all these transfer concerns.

NCAA Associate Director of Public and Media Relations Michelle Brutlag Hosick tweeted on Jan. 17 that there is still work to be done before voting can occur.

“We’re still a ways off from a transfer proposal. We don’t have academic benchmarks, effective dates or other details that must be decided before anybody votes,” Hosick said in her tweet.

However, Division I will introduce a more flexible schedule in 2018 allowing members to provide input and produce a working proposal for transfer rules.

The Division I Council will have an opportunity to introduce new legislative proposals regarding transfer rules in April. Voting could take place sometime this summer.