NCAA Likely To Ease Rules On Athlete Earnings

A top governing board of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) last week recommended several changes regarding financial rules affecting amateur athletes.

The proposed rule changes would allow student-athletes to charge fees for lessons, receive free disability insurance from the NCAA, arrange for loans based on future potential earnings and accept grant money for winning Olympic medals.

The NCAA's Division I Management Council approved the rule changes regarding student-athletes last Tuesday, with the changes expected to receive formal approval at the Division I Board of Directors meeting on April 26.

Two of the rule changes are intended to lessen financial restrictions on student-athletes receiving money for sports activities.

One proposal would allow college athletes to charge fees for skill lessons given in the student's sport, while the other would permit student-athletes competing in the Olympics to receive money based on place finish through the Operation Gold Grant fund administered by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Current legislation does not permit student-athletes to receive grants based on place finish in competitions without jeopardizing their collegiate eligibility.

According to Harvard's Assistant Director of Athletics for Compliance Sheri D. Norred, the proposed rule changes are intended to help students cover training and travel expenses-not accumulate earnings during college.

"A lot of times these grant funds are used to cover expenses that individuals incur for training for such events, so it's not like students are making money by being able to accept an Operation Gold grant from the U.S. Olympic committee," Norred said.