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Athlete working group talks impact of new NCAA rule

The new rule will take effect Aug. 1. Working group members said UNC student-athletes will benefit from the change.

“At this point, we are planning to provide full cost of attendance to all of the scholarships we currently offer,” said Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham, who attended the NCAA convention where the legislation was passed.

UNC’s cost of attendance is $24,120 for in-state students and $50,938 for out-of-state students for the 2014-15 academic year.

In addition to the room, board, books, tuition and fees that current scholarships cover, the change allows for other expenses to be paid for. The NCAA also said student-athlete scholarships can only be taken away for academic or disciplinary reasons, not athletic.

Lissa Broome, a member of the working group who also attended the convention, said she worried non-revenue sports might still get neglected.

“Our big fear ... is some schools will decide to fully fund football and basketball and neglect other sports,” said Broome, who is the faculty athletics representative to the ACC and NCAA.

Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Jim Dean said he has heard horror stories of athletes who could not afford food. This legislation, along with the 2014 NCAA ruling to provide unlimited meals to Division I athletes, should stop that from ever happening, Dean said.

Working group adviser Debbi Clarke said Complete Carolina — the program that allows athletes who left UNC in good academic standing before graduating to return to the University — has been making progress as well.

There have been 32 people reviewed for the program, but 16 of them currently do not meet the parameters for returning to UNC to complete their degree, Clarke said.

The working group will publish its work on 21 topics related to student-athletes on a new website in the next month.

Cunningham said he has never seen a university publish anything as comprehensive as the forthcoming website. He said it’s unusual to see public information about topics such as student-athlete housing.

“We still have some loops to close, but that’s good,” Clarke said. “Excellent organizations are continuously changing, and I hope that’ll always be the case.”

The group might disband after it publishes its conclusions, but Dean is not in favor of setting anything in stone.

“I don’t start with the fixed idea of what the future of this group should be,” Dean said.

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