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Steve Chiotakis: So did you see the Duke/Butler men’s college basketball championship game last night? Duke pulled it out in a squeaker. For some of the players on those and other teams, they’re just squeaking by. A bill being introduced in California hopes to address that problem, as Marketplace’s Mitchell Hartman reports.
Mitchell Hartman: March Madness is over, and all those student athletes will be back to lectures, study hall and paying the bills. Even those on full scholarship, says Ramogi Huma. He’s president of the National College Players Association and a former linebacker at UCLA:
Ramogi Huma: You get a meal card and you get your housing taken care of. But for all the other expenses, you have no money at all.
In many cases, that includes cross-country travel to and from school — and health insurance. A study by Huma’s organization found the average Division I scholarship athlete spends more than $2,700 a year out-of-pocket.
Huma: I know a lot of regular students have much more debt than that. But in terms of athletes and what they’re promised, if you were facing thousands of dollars in expenses that you had no idea were coming, it would be a definite hardship.
Tom Torlakson: Let’s have it up front and clear and that the promises made are kept.
Tom Torlakson has been a high school track coach. Now he’s a California state legislator. His new bill would require recruiters to disclose in writing what a full scholarship does and doesn’t include. And what happens if the athlete gets sidelined.
Torlakson: For instance, if they got injured, are their medical expenses covered? Sometimes not. Are they allowed to continue, if they’re injured so severely that they have to miss a season, does the scholarship, full-ride tuition, textbooks, room and board, continue or not?
A spokesman for the NCAA said legislation isn’t needed because most recruiters are upfront about scholarship terms when they try to woo high school athletes and their families.
I’m Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.
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