The University of Maryland made an historic announcement Tuesday, becoming one of the first Division I schools to offer a "lifetime degree guarantee" for student-athletes. The guarantee is being dubbed "The Maryland Way Guarantee," and marks an historic step in protecting athletes' rights -- particularly those who suffer serious injury. From the official school release:
Beginning in November of 2014-15, ‘The Maryland Way Guarantee' will provide all incoming student-athletes with a multi-year scholarship guarantee. Pursuant to this program, should a student-athlete exhaust his or her eligibility prior to graduating, Maryland will guarantee his or her aid will continue through graduation. If a student-athlete is injured and unable to compete, we will guarantee his or her aid will continue through graduation.
Maryland will also provide tuition, books and fees for student-athletes who leave the institution in "good academic standing" and return at any time to finish their degree. The school is one of the first to offer a scholarship guarantee for all sports, not just football and basketball.
"Our vision is to be the best intercollegiate athletic program while producing graduates who are prepared to serve as leaders in the local, state and global communities," director of athletics Kevin Anderson said in the release. "We are confident ‘The Maryland Way Guarantee' will further demonstrate our commitment to our student-athletes' pursuit of a college degree."
Like most NCAA schools, Maryland previously offered one-year scholarships subject to renewal after each year. Schools can cancel or reduce scholarships for any reason under NCAA rules, and the Terrapins have now made an official promise to stick to a longer commitment.