PAC-12 Conference implements major new reforms for student-athletes

October 28, 2014

The Pac-12 Conference today adopted significant reforms for its student-athletes, including but not limited to guaranteed four-year athletic scholarships, continuing education, improved health care, and liberalized transfer rules.  The changes were approved by a vote of the presidents and chancellors of the Conference’s 12 member universities.

“This fulfills a promise we made when we announced our agenda for reform earlier this year,” said chairman of the Conference’s CEO Group, Dr. Elson S. Floyd, who is president of Washington State University. “These reforms assure better support for all our student-athletes, reinforce that academics come first, and address the financial and health needs of our students.”

In May 2014, the Pac-12 sent a letter to its fellow conferences outlining its intended reforms, and today's changes more or less follow those suggested in that document.

The Conference’s new rules are progressive and are a step in the right direction.  Moreover, the reforms apply to Pac-12 student-athletes across all sports.

Praising the reform package was University of Washington gymnast McKenzie Fechter, the chair of the Pac-12 Student Athlete Advisory Committee: “I'm proud to be a part of a conference that is pushing reform and doing more for student-athletes,” said Fechter. “These reforms are positive steps not only for those of us who are current student-athletes, but also for those who aspire to be Pac-12 student-athletes in the future.”

The Pac-12 presidents and chancellors also reaffirmed their support for incorporating the full cost of attendance for Pac-12 scholarship student-athletes. The 65 institutions that compose the five major conferences and 15 representative student-athletes will vote on this important issue at the inaugural meeting of the five major conferences in January.

Also discussed were next steps to strengthen protections for student-athletes against excessive time demands of intercollegiate athletics.

Conference Commissioner Larry Scott hailed the reform package: “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 address 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.”

Below are the list of reforms adopted by the Conference:


(i)  Guaranteeing four-year scholarships that can neither be reduced nor canceled provided the student-athlete remains in good standing and meets his/her terms of the agreement. Effective in 2015-16, all financial aid agreements offered to incoming student-athletes will be multi-year agreements for no less than four academic years.

(ii) Financially supporting student-athletes who do not graduate in four years and return to school to complete their degrees. Effective 2016-17, if a student-athlete departs the institution in good standing and has completed a reasonable portion of their degree (50%), the student-athlete can return and receive necessary educational expenses for the remaining terms of the agreement.

(iii) Enhancing medical support for both current and former student-athletes. 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.

(iv) Liberalizing Transfer Rules within the Conference. The CEOs approved elimination of the financial aid penalty of the intra-conference transfer rule. Effective immediately, a student-athlete who transfers between Pac-12 institutions can receive an athletic scholarship from the second school without restriction, provided he or she is otherwise eligible to receive the aid.

(v) Increasing student-athlete representation in Pac-12 governance. The CEOs supported including student-athletes in Council meetings and giving them a meaningful role in its deliberations. Final recommendations will be determined June 2015.

Pac-12 Football News and Notes

In other Pac-12 gridiron news . . .

Road Warriors: Pac-12 teams continue to excel on the road in league play. The visiting teams are now 20-9 in league road games. The five teams ranked in this week’s AP Top 25 (Oregon, Arizona State, Arizona, Utah, and UCLA) have combined overall road record of 17-0.

South Division Leaders Get Tested: Over the next five weeks, each of the three one-loss teams in the Pac-12's South Division will face three ranked opponents - ARIZONA (vs. No. 25 UCLA, No. 18 Utah, No. 15 Arizona State); ARIZONA STATE (vs. No. 18 Utah, No. 6 Notre Dame, No. 14 Arizona); UTAH (vs. No. 15 Arizona State, No. 5 Oregon, No. 14 Arizona).

And Then There Was One: UTAH’s Travis Wilson (143 attempts) is the only FBS quarterback to have attempted at least 125 passes this season without an interception. OREGON’s Marcus Mariota had his streak of 253 passes without an interception, dating back to last season, come to an end against Cal when one of his passes was tipped twice before finding the hands of a defender.

The Record Book: OREGON STATE senior QB Sean Mannion is closing in on Matt Barkley’s Pac-12 career passing totals. With 12,134 passing yards, Mannion needs 194 yards to eclipse the 12,327 yards Barkley accumulated from 2009-12.

Award Watch List: Several of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) awards are starting to list their semifinalists. Making the cut for the Butkus Award, honoring the nation’s top linebacker, are UCLA’s Myles Jack and Eric Kendricks, WASHINGTON’s Hau’oli Kikaha and Shaq Thompson, and USC’s Hayes Pullard.  No other conference had more than five players named to the list of 15 semifinalists...The Jim Thorpe Award semifinalists, which honors the nation’s top defensive backs, include OREGON’s Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and STANFORD’s Jordan Richards.

By Staff of and news services

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