PA 11-92—sHB 5415

Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee

AN ACT REQUIRING FULL DISCLOSURE TO PROSPECTIVE ATHLETES BEING RECRUITED TO INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION

SUMMARY: This act requires Connecticut colleges and universities with intercollegiate athletic programs to disclose certain information to recruited student athletes. Beginning January 1, 2012, any institution with an intercollegiate athletic program that recruits student athletes by soliciting them to apply to, enroll in, or attend the institution for the purpose of participating in intercollegiate athletics must (1) provide a hyperlink entitled “Student Athletes' Right to Know” on the front page of its official athletics website and (2) include a direct link to its web page in any written materials regarding the athletic program provided to student athletes. The hyperlink must link to a web page that contains information regarding (1) athletic scholarships, (2) the renewal of and release from scholarships, and (3) sports-related medical expenses.

The act defines student athletes as individuals who attend an elementary, middle, or secondary school program of education or an institution of higher education and participate in any interscholastic athletic program in Connecticut, regardless of whether or not they receive a scholarship for doing so.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2011

SCHOLARSHIP INFORMATION

With respect to athletic scholarships, the act requires the “Student Athletes' Right to Know” website to include the:

1. institution's most recent cost of attendance for the academic year and summer school session, as published by its financial aid office, and the amount the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) prohibits from being covered in a full scholarship (see BACKGROUND);

2. institution's policy on providing scholarships for summer school sessions and whether they are proportional to those provided for the regular academic year;

3. full grant-in-aid scholarship payment received by all student athletes who live on campus during the academic year and off campus during summer school sessions; and

4. institution's policy on signing more recruited student athletes than there are available scholarships and how that affects scholarship opportunities for recruited and current student athletes.

The website must also include information on NCAA rules regarding the National Letter of Intent (NLI), including that:

1. it is a binding agreement under which the institution agrees to provide athletics aid for one academic year in exchange for the prospective student athlete's agreement to attend the institution for one academic year;

2. it must be accompanied by an institutional financial aid agreement; and

3. signing an NLI and not enrolling at the institution for a full academic year may subject a student athlete to specific penalties, including loss of a season of eligibility and a mandatory residence requirement.

The website must also state that, per NCAA rules, a verbal commitment is not binding on the student athlete or the institution.

Renewal and Release

The act requires the website to contain the institution's policy regarding the renewal or nonrenewal of athletic scholarships, specifically as it applies to (1) a temporary or permanent sports-related injury suffered by a student athlete in good standing, (2) a coaching change, and (3) athletic performance that is below expectations. The website must also contain the NCAA's policy regarding scholarship duration.

With respect to an athletic release, the website must include NCAA and institution policies on whether an institution may refuse to grant a release to a student athlete who wishes to transfer.

SPORTS-RELATED MEDICAL EXPENSES

The act requires the website to include the following information concerning sports-related medical expenses:

1. the NCAA's policy regarding whether athletic programs must pay for such expenses and the institution's policy concerning whether it will pay for such expenses, including deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance, or any expenses that exceed maximum insurance coverage limits;

2. the institution's policy on who must pay for required sports-related insurance premiums for student athletes without insurance coverage;

3. how long an institution will pay for sports-related medical expenses after a student athlete's athletic eligibility expires; and

4. whether an athletic program's medical policy covers services provided by a physician not associated with the program, including the provision of a second opinion for a sports-related injury.

BACKGROUND

Value of Full Scholarship

The NCAA defines a “full grant-in-aid” (i. e. , a full scholarship) as financial aid that consists of tuition, fees, room, board, and required course-related books (NCAA Bylaw 15. 02. 5). It does not include other items that institutions typically use to calculate the cost of attendance, such as transportation and miscellaneous personal expenses. An institution may only provide financial aid to student-athletes for such expenses if the provision of aid is unrelated to athletic ability (NCAA Bylaw 15. 1).

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