A bill requiring that colleges and universities more fully disclose the terms and conditions of athletic scholarships continues to progress through the Connecticut General Assembly. However, the bill that is presently before the General Assembly appears to have been diluted from its original form.
In February,”An Act Requiring the Informed Consent of Prospective Athletes Being Recruited to Institutions of Higher Education,” Proposed House Bill 5415, read 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.
The bill, in its present form, has changed significantly.
The original bill was entitled “An Act Requiring the Informed Consent of Prospective Athletes Being Recruited to Institutions of Higher Education.” The present bill has been renamed “An Act Requiring Full Disclosure to Prospective Athletes Being Recruited to Institutions of Higher Education.” The substitution of “full disclosure” for “informed consent” may appear semantic, but is significant. Full disclosure is a much lower standard than the elevated duty of informed consent.
Moreover, the present bill merely requires that colleges and universities “provide a hyperlink entitled ‘Student Athletes’ Right to Know’ on the front page of its official athletic Internet web site with various details concerning the “fine print” contained in the athletic scholarship. Coaches who recruit student-athletes will not be responsible for disclosure and informed consent as described in the original bill. Clearly, a hyperlink on already busy athletic department website does not compare to the compliance required by a coach obtaining informed consent from a student-athlete.
Despite the apparent dilution of the original bill, there are a number of positive changes, mostly in the way of detail. The information that would be required to be posted on a college or university’s website would cover the National Letter of Intent, over-signing practices, the school’s policy on providing a release to a student-athletes who wish to transfer, the duration of an athletic scholarship, the school’s policy on injuries and medical expenses as well as other pertinent details.
Of course, this information is only useful if the student-athlete clicks on the hyperlink, reviews the information and has a conversation with the coaches recruiting the student-athlete.