Athletic scholarships are not fully understood by the majority of athletes and families. We spend most of our time helping you understand what it takes to get a scholarship and flourish in the recruiting process. However, just because you know how to get a scholarship and you might be fortunate enough to be receiving one doesn’t mean you just blindly sign on the dotted line.
Too many families think that signing for a scholarship means all of their worries are over. For some, that is probably true. For others, the scholarship they thought covered every conceivable problem doesn’t, and it often comes with some very big strings attached.
There is a new law in Connecticut and California designed to help families and athletes understand more about what it means when you are signing for a scholarship. Below are some of the areas it covers and what you need to know about them.
Scholarships Are One-year Contracts that Need to Be Renewed
Each year, a coaching staff evaluates their roster and scholarship athletes to determine how to use their money for the following year. Most of the time, coaches renew scholarships. However, it is within their right to pull a scholarship from an athlete if they feel they want to use the scholarship money elsewhere. The new law does not prevent coaches from doing this but requires that athletes be made aware that this can happen.
You Must Be Released By a School to Transfer, and They don’t Have to Let You
Transferring is one of the touchiest subjects in college sports. If you are a scholarship athlete and you want to change schools and get a scholarship somewhere else, you must get a written release from your current school before other programs can begin talking to you. Your current school does not have to grant you a transfer and often will not if you are trying to go play for a rival or in conference competitor. Again, the new law doesn’t change anything about the transfer process, it only mandates athletes to be more aware of what their rights are regarding transferring.
Not All Medical Expenses Get Covered if You Are Hurt
Each program has a slightly different take on what kind of medical coverage athletes are provided should they get injured. Some key areas to understand when you are signing with a school are what your options for second opinions are, how much are you responsible for on co-pays, and how long does coverage last? The new law mandates that athletes be made aware of these policies but does not standardize health care coverage for athletes.
The new law is about making sure athletes and parents are more informed that their scholarships have all of the right intentions. As is the case with many laws about making sure people are informed of their rights, I fear the information will get lost in the fine print and largely go ignored. The responsibility of being an informed athlete and family rests on you.
If you have any questions about your current or future scholarship, please feel free to ask us. You can ask in the comments section below or find us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+!