Our newest B1G brethren (and co-holder of the "UM" shorthand) has just announced that it will guarantee student-athletes aid in earning a degree even if their athletic eligibility runs out before they graduate.
This is big for two reasons:
-1) Most student-athletes are on 1-year scholarships, which means that an injury or even poor play can result in them having the financial rug pulled out from under them. This guarantee is not only equivalent to a multi-year scholarship, but actually extends for a player's lifetime.
-2) Relatedly, this means that a guy who leaves early for the pros could still come back after his career is over and finish his degree without cost. That's a big deal for some athletes who either miscalculate their draft potential or get injured before they earn real money.
As the article mentions, other Big 5 conference schools will likely follow suit in the near future in order to gain an advantage / not fall behind in the recruiting process.
One thing I am curious about, though, is whether the scholarship continues even if a player is cut "for-cause" (to borrow an employment phrase). For instance, would C'sonte York continue to be eligible for the lifetime guarantee? Or is there some exception if the kid royally screws up and/or commits a serious crime?