IU guarantees lifetime degrees

Indiana University announced its own student-athlete bill of rights on Friday, a 10-point document that outlines new and current reforms, such as a lifetime degree guarantee and the use of the career placement center after graduation.

Some of the points echo a joint statement issued by Big Ten officials earlier this week. But Indiana athletic director Fred Glass told ESPN.com that this bill has been in the making for weeks. Any overlap -- such as the four-year scholarship commitment -- is coincidental, and points made in the bill are effective immediately.

"The pendulum needs to swing back to provide more for the student-athletes," Glass said.

The central figure of the bill is a lifetime degree guarantee, which allows former student-athletes to finish their degrees if they left school early, so long as they were eligible for two seasons. Comprehensive medical examinations that were once freely available to only incoming scholarship athletes are now also open to walk-ons, and every student-athlete will receive an iPad and a blazer.

The reforms come in the wake of the Ed O'Bannon trial, which questions the NCAA's amateurism model. Improvements and changes are in the forefront of the minds of many school presidents and athletic directors, and Glass believed such a bill was a long time coming.

The origins for this bill, Glass said, can be traced back to a conversation he had with the parents of a volleyball recruit who didn't seem to understand the benefits of the student-athlete. Once he began answering questions -- such as "Will you take away her scholarship if she gets injured?" and "Will we have to pay if she comes down with mono?" (the answers were no and no) -- he realized something needed to change.

"It underscored to me that, in intercollegiate athletics, it was kind of lost as to what the benefits actually were," Glass said. "So we wanted to address the benefits we did provide and the benefits we wanted to provide."

Although all the reforms are effective immediately, student-athletes will start receiving the iPads in August and the blazers sometime thereafter. The bill is also retroactive so an Indiana baseball player in the 1970s can begin to finish up his degree or use the career placement facility immediately, as long as he meets the requirements.

"We're making a lifelong commitment," Glass added.

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