NORCO, Calif., Aug. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National College Players Association (NCPA), formerly named the Collegiate Athletes Coalition, announced today its support of the White v. NCAA lawsuit settlement. The NCPA, now with over 7,000 members from over 150 schools, helped launch this lawsuit over two years ago in hopes of increasing the NCAA scholarship limit to an amount equal to the Cost of Attendance at each school. "Although we would have liked to see the NCAA change its rules to allow schools to provide scholarships that would eliminate the $2,000 - $3,000 shortfall that 'full scholarship' players are left with, the NCPA feels like this settlement is a step in the right direction," said NCPA President Ramogi Huma. The NCAA addressed the NCPA's initial concerns about some of the language in the settlement by filing a statement of clarification with the court. The settlement allows schools to pass along a number of benefits to their athletes. The settlement requires the NCAA to add $218 million to the Student-Athlete Opportunity Fund (SAOF) over the next 6 years. This will bring the estimated total to more than $445 million over this time period. College athletes can tap into this fund for expenses such as medical insurance premiums, parking fees, travel expenses home and clothes. However, universities have discretion about how to spend the money in this fund. NCPA Vice President Ryan Roques said, "The next step is to do all we can to make sure colleges use this money to provide meaningful benefits to their athletes, rather than using it to benefit their athletic program. We want players to have a say in this by letting their athletic programs know what is most important to the athletes. An extra computer in the computer lab might be OK, but a number of our members are concerned with important expenses like health insurance and parking fees that are not covered in their scholarships." The NCPA plans to make public the names of universities that ignore the concerns of their players and withhold access to meaningful uses of the SAOF money. "Recruits need to know which schools are making money available in meaningful ways, and which schools are not," said Huma. "Schools need to spend this money on what players need, not what makes the schools feel good. The only way to accomplish this is for athletic programs to talk to their players about what is most important to them. Otherwise, even well-meaning athletic programs can get it wrong." The NCAA must also establish a $10 million fund for continuing education and career development for former football and basketball players. This fund will be available for the next three years and will pay up to $2,500 per year in reimbursements for educational expenses and a one-time payment of $500 toward career development programs. In addition, the settlement requires the NCAA to eliminate health coverage restrictions on universities that previously prevented them from securing health insurance for various non-sports related conditions. Over the years, the NCPA has established itself as the voice for college athletes, and has helped bring forth important reforms including: -- Increase in the NCAA death benefit from $10,000 to $25,000 -- Elimination of various limits on college athlete health coverage -- Improved safety rules to help prevent avoidable deaths -- Elimination of the $2,000 salary cap on earnings from legitimate employment More information about the NCPA is available at http://www.ncpanow.org.
SOURCE National College Players Association