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NCAA to vote on guaranteed access to mental health services and resources for student athletes

The NCAA Convention is taking place down in Orlando, Florida in just a few days, and while the legislative proposals don't necessarily have an earth-shattering revelation among the items being presented, there are topics that Division I programs have brought to the table that could have some far reaching impact.

One of the more important issues being presented and considered is requiring schools to make mental health services and resources available to student athletes.

According to the NCAA release:

"The proposal is the latest move to improve the college experience for student-athletes and underscores the commitment to all aspects of student-athlete health. If adopted, the rule would require schools to make mental health services and resources available through the athletics department and/or the institution’s health services or counseling services department. In addition, schools must distribute mental health educational materials and resources, including a guide to the mental health services and resources available at the school and information regarding how to access them, to student-athletes throughout the year."

Stories like the suicide of former Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski, including an increasing awareness and continued conversation of mental issues on the national stage, have helped to bring this important issue to the NCAA Convention docket.

Other proposals being presented are; replacing the terms "relatives" and "parents" or "legal guardians" with "family members in all autonomy provisions; providing housing and meals for student athletes participating in summer activities before the initial summer school enrollment, and to those not enrolled in summer school; allowing schools to arrange for parking on unofficial visits, allowing omega-3 fatty acids to student athletes, and allowing for an end-of-season team meeting during the required off week from athletic activities.

See the full listing of proposals here, and here is a legislation summary from the 2017-18 meeting, to give an idea of the issues that have been looked at in the past.

The ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC will consider the proposals during the convention on January 24th.

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