NCAA Approves Athlete Payments, Multi-Year Scholarships And Postseason APR Bans

The NCAA announced a trio of major rule changes Thursday, springing from a series of summer rule recommendations. They're all going to impact college sports significantly, but the one likely to draw the most attention is the part about PAYING STUDENT-ATHLETES CASH PAPER:

The Board also adopted legislation giving student-athletes who receive full athletics scholarships the opportunity to receive additional athletics aid up to the full cost of attendance or $2,000, whichever is less.    

Schools will essentially have the option to pay their players up to $2,000 in addition to their scholarships. Power conferences like the Big Ten and SEC have lobbied for this change, since their schools have the money to throw around $2,000 like it's nothing.

But the one that's going to stir up the most controversy very soon is the APR bit. Academic Progress Rate is a flawed metric, and over the next few years we're going to see it keep a deserving team from postseason competition:

The new post-season eligibility structure will take effect in the 2012-13 academic year, with a two-year implementation window before the benchmark moves from 900 to 930.     

However, the option for a school to offer a scholarship beyond one year might be the most important change of all:

The Board also approved multi-year grants up to the full term of eligibility, though one-year grants will remain the minimum. A prescribed minimum award value should apply to all scholarships (percentage amount to be decided in the coming months), and institutions could increase the allotted aid during the period of the award.

As Team Speed Kills points out, the Mississippi States of the world now have a bargaining chip. If Alabama's only offering a one-year scholly and the Bulldogs are offering two, that's a much more competitive recruiting atmosphere than if both were offering the same terms.

For more college sports, visit SB Nation's many exquisite college sports blogs.

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