I noted back in February that the Connecticut legislature was considering a bill called the “Connecticut Student-Athletes’ Right to Know Act”. The bill required schools to be more forthcoming with recruits about the ins and outs of athletic scholarships.
Well, Connecticut House Bill 5415 has in fact passed. Its passage is being hailed as a “major breakthrough for players’ rights”. The bill requires Connecticut schools to post a hyperlink on the front page of their official athletic web sites which takes a reader to a list of policies the schools follow. Oh, yeah, if recruits are given written materials by recruiters, those materials must contain a reference to the web site and link.
That’s nice. And it’s better than nothing at all. But it’s not the greatest thing since sliced bread, either.
That’s because it was watered down from a proposal that really did have some teeth to it.
… The original bill was entitled “An Act Requiring the Informed Consent of Prospective Athletes Being Recruited to Institutions of Higher Education.” The present bill has been renamed ”An Act Requiring Full Disclosure to Prospective Athletes Being Recruited to Institutions of Higher Education.” The substitution of ”full disclosure” for ”informed consent” may appear semantic, but is significant. Full disclosure is a much lower standard than the elevated duty of informed consent.
Moreover, the present bill merely requires that colleges and universities “provide a hyperlink entitled ‘Student Athletes’ Right to Know’ on the front page of its official athletic Internet web site with various details concerning the “fine print” contained in the athletic scholarship. Coaches who recruit student-athletes will not be responsible for disclosure and informed consent as described in the original bill. Clearly, a hyperlink on already busy athletic department website does not compare to the compliance required by a coach obtaining informed consent from a student-athlete.
Gee, I wonder how that happened.
Again, this isn’t to say the new law isn’t without its good points. Putting the information out there in a coordinated fashion can’t hurt. But as the author of the above notes, “… this information is only useful if the student-athlete clicks on the hyperlink, reviews the information and has a conversation with the coaches recruiting the student-athlete.” Now there’s a conversation every head coach looks forward to having with a prospective student-athlete and his parents.
So, no, the next major step isn’t to provide more of the same with regard to information about academics, as the post at Oversigning.com suggests. It’s to eliminate the virtual middleman the legislature created when it changed the direction of the bill. Make coaches have that talk and make them do it in a substantive way so that informed consent means just that. Then we’ll have something worth bragging about.