Indiana to distribute multi-year scholarships, other benefits to student-athletes

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Friday marks the final day of testimony in the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit, and it’s been said on many occasions that the verdict will impact the way schools do business moving forward. One area that could be impacted is what student-athletes receive when given a scholarship, as changes could require them to go well beyond the standard allowances per NCAA rules.

With this being the case some schools have chosen to be proactive, with Indiana being the latest athletic department to make changes with the student-athlete in mind. According to Zach Osterman of the Indianapolis Star, Indiana AD Fred Glass has plans for a ten-point student-athlete bill or rights that will enhance the value of the full scholarship.

Some of those benefits include multiyear scholarships as opposed to the standard one-year renewable scholarship for athletes on full rides, improved health benefits and financial help for those who wish to return to IU in order to complete their bachelor’s degree. And should the NCAA allow its members to meet the full cost of attendance, Glass will be prepared to do that as well.

Glass added that, should cost of attendance scholarships gain NCAA approval, Indiana’s scholarships would increase to that level of financial support.

“The cost of attendance piece, we’re not permitted to do that under NCAA rules,” Glass said. “But it’s something that, when it happens — and I’m confident it will happen — it’s just something we should do.”

A few days ago USC announced that it would award four-year scholarships in football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball, a development that more schools could decide to follow in the near future. And it should be noted that the Big Ten announced its support for such measures, so Indiana will likely have company within its own conference.

The measures taken by USC and Indiana could very well happen at other schools within the “Power Five” leagues, given the revenues those conferences are already bringing in. But how much pushback will there be from NCAA members without the monetary resources needed to follow suit? That answer will have as much impact as the coming verdict in the O’Bannon lawsuit.

Louisville backcourt struggles in first scrimmage

Quentin Snider, Jerian Grant
Associated Press
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While a few teams did manage to hold special events for the official start of practice this weekend, most simply went about their business with drills and conditioning. One team that was the exception to all of this was Louisville, which held the first of its two intersquad scrimmages on Saturday. The Cardinals had a head start of sorts on the season, as they played six exhibition games in Puerto Rico this summer.

One hope heading into Saturday’s scrimmage was that guards Trey Lewis and Quentin Snider would have better chemistry than they did in Puerto Rico. But according to Jeff Greer of the Louisville Courier-Journal, that remains a work in progress for the Cleveland State transfer (Lewis) and rising sophomore (Snider).

They struggled in Puerto Rico, and they struggled again in Saturday’s Red-White scrimmage, the first public intrasquad practice since August. They played one half of the game together, paired with the presumed starting lineup with Mangok Mathiang out with an eye injury, a group that also included Damion Lee, Jaylen Johnson and Chinanu Onuaku.

That team lost the first half by 13 points to a younger group of Louisville players, and Lewis and Snider combined for eight points on 3-of-12 shooting, five turnovers, five steals, four assists and three rebounds.

“I thought (Snider) and (Lewis) did not play well together,” U of L coach Rick Pitino said. “They’ve got to get used to that. Neither guy made other guys better. That’s what they need to learn to do.”

As Greer also noted in his story the Cardinals have in recent years employed backcourt tandems in which both guards are capable of making plays for themselves and others. On the 2013 national champion team Peyton Siva and Russ Smith led the way, with Smith being joined by Terry Rozier or Chris Jones the following season and Rozier/Jones being the grouping last season before the latter was dismissed from the team.

Once Jones was dismissed Snider saw more time on the court, and his development was one of the keys for a Louisville team that fell one win short of the Final Four. Louisville needs him to take another step forward heading into the 2015-16 season, because even with Lewis’ experience at the Division I level Snider has more experience playing in Pitino’s system.

But while Saturday’s scrimmage didn’t go as well as anyone involved hoped, there’s still plenty of time for Louisville to work out the kinks before they open the season November 13 against Samford.

Knee injury sidelines Memphis assistant

Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Hornets
Associated Press
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With practices beginning this weekend, not only are players looking to avoid the injury bug but their coaches are as well. And in the case of Memphis, the Tigers won’t have one of their assistants on the court for a little while due to a knee injury.

Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire, who returned to Josh Pastner’s staff this summer after a two-year stint at Arizona, suffered the injury during a recent workout according to L. Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. And Stoudamire will require surgery, which will put him on the shelf for a little bit.

“He was working out himself and I think he thought he was in his rookie year,” Pastner said. “We think he’s got a torn meniscus, which will require surgery and put him out for a couple of days.”

Stoudamire isn’t the only assistant coach working through pain either. Syracuse’s Mike Hopkins, who is also Jim Boeheim’s heir apparent as head coach, suffered a neck injury body surfing during a family vacation last month. Hopkins spent some time in a neck brace while putting players through workouts as a result of the injury.

As for the Tigers, they’ll have a mixture of experience on the perimeter and youth in the front court as they look to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season. Among the newcomers are talented forwards Dedric and K.J. Lawson, with experienced guards such as Kedren Johnson, Trahson Burrell and Ricky Tarrant (grad transfer from Alabama) expected to be key contributors on the perimeter.