The Connecticut General Assembly is considering a bill requiring colleges and universities to more fully disclose the terms and conditions of scholarship offers made to high school athletes. Proposed House Bill 5415, entitled “An Act Requiring the Informed Consent of Prospective Athletes Being Recruited to Institutions of Higher Education,” reads as follows:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:
That the general statutes be amended to require athletic coaches who are employed by an institution of higher education and involved in recruiting athletes to disclose to such athletes the details of medical expenses associated with playing the sport for which such athlete is being recruited and the athletic scholarship renewal requirements and transfer policies of such institution of higher education.
Statement of Purpose:
To ensure that athletes being recruited to play a sport for an institution of higher education are made aware of the potential costs associated with playing such sport and the requirements and policies of such institution.
This legislation, modeled after the California “Student-Athletes’ Right to Know Act” (AB 2079), was introduced by Representative Patricia Dillon (92nd Dist. – New Haven). University of New Haven professor Allen Sack testified in favor of this bill, drawing upon the changes in NCAA rules since his time as a football player at Notre Dame in the 1960s. Judith B. Greiman, on behalf of the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges, testified that the bill is likely to complicate an area that is already heavily regulated by the NCAA. However, it appears that the bill focuses on the policies of individual schools, rather than NCAA regulations.
Any effort designed to better educate student-athletes and their families is a positive development. Often lost in the recruiting process is the fact that an athletic scholarship is a year-to-year proposition, per NCAA rules. Policies on the renewal of scholarships, however, often differ from school to school. Injuries and performance, both athletic and academic, can effect whether a scholarship is renewed. In addition, schools have different policies with respect to transfers. In particular, some schools refuse students permission to seek a transfer to other schools, such as schools in the same division or other athletic rivals. Naturally, most of these potentially negative situations are not throughly discussed during the recruiting process. This legislation, if it becomes law, may require more complete, and perhaps realistic, discussions between recruiters and student-athletes in Connecticut.