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Big Ten Presidents Propose 4-Year Scholarships, Improved Medical Coverage For Athletes

Last March, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said that his conference's member schools would consider moving to Division III or another non-'pay for play' model if Ed O'Bannon's side defeats the NCAA in court. A year later, with the O'Bannon case in full swing, it sounds like the league has changed its tone a bit, and have come up with some alternatives to help improve the lives of athletes.

The league announced in a statement signed Tuesday by its 14 presidents that it proposes working within the NCAA structure to provide greater academic security for its athletes by guaranteeing scholarships for four years, even if an athlete can no longer compete or has left for a professional career.

The Big Ten also would like to provide more consistent medical coverage and ensure its athletes are compensated for the full cost of their college education rather than just tuition, fees and room and board.

That's quite the jump from "moving away from big time athletics all together" that the league threatened last year, but few people probably bought that the Big Ten would actually consider a gigantic move like that.