A group of NCAA student athletes from the biggest conferences are asking the NCAA to step up and take care of them. While player eligibility remains a major focus of student athletes, the group is also asking the NCAA to assist with proper food and housing amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The group, called the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), organized to serve as a unifying presence for college athletes. Student athletes from the five power conferences — the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC — make up the SAAC.
The NCAA Division I Council will get together Monday to vote on how to handle eligibility relief for athletes affected by the cancellation of spring seasons. Before that vote, however, the SAAC made some recommendations to the NCAA, the first of which dealt with making sure players receive housing and food amid the coronavirus-related shutdown.
NEW: Student-athlete leaders from across the Power 5 met (virtually) over the weekend and have released this joint statement in advance of the Division I Council's vote on eligibility relief: pic.twitter.com/1Ttw53a2xC
— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) March 30, 2020
The SAAC’s first recommendation reads:
While the primary focus of the vote is regarding eligibility, it is critical that the NCAA Division I Council supports collegiate athletes who are currently struggling to pay for food and housing due to the effects of COVID-19. The Student Assistance Fund (SAF) exists to help struggling college athletes with unforeseen circumstances and burdens. We are calling on member institutions and the NCAA to increase awareness of the fund and ensure access to athletes who need it most. If the NCAA focuses merely on eligibility relief and does not aid those who are unsafe and unable to pay for food and shelter, then we have already failed our peers as collegiate athlete leaders.
On top of that, the SAAC is recommending the NCAA give all athletes who were unable to “complete their championship season” the chance to gain an extra year of eligibility. It also wants returning seniors to have their scholarships renewed, and for those scholarships to not count against financial aid limits.
NCAA Division I Council to vote Monday
The NCAA Division I Council will get together Monday to vote on how to assist schools and student athletes amid the coronavirus pandemic. In a statement, the NCAA announced the council would vote on “eligibility relief” as well as “other related issues.” It did not expand on what was included in those “related issues.”
Should the NCAA provide an additional year to athletes who missed out on their season, it could cost schools between $500,000 and $900,000 per school, according to USA Today. Those costs would come on the heels of the NCAA distributing $375 million less to its members than it initially projected before coronavirus prompted the cancellation of all spring championships.
Most notably, the NCAA projected it would receive $827 million from television broadcast revenue and licensing rights for the men’s basketball tournament in 2020.
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