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Big Ten approves new student-athlete scholarship rule

The Big Ten has made it official — student-athletes will be welcomed back to school on scholarship if they so choose to complete their degree.

The announcement came a week after the conference proposed the idea to the NCAA. Big Ten representatives met Monday and Tuesday and approved the measure.

The statement by the Big Ten issued the following guidelines in regards to its new rule:

• The scholarship will neither be reduced nor cancelled provided (the student-athlete) remains a member in good standing with the community, the university and the athletics department.

• If a student-athlete’s pursuit of an undergraduate degree is interrupted for a bona fide reason, that student-athlete may return to the institution at any time to complete his or her degree with the assistance of an athletic scholarship.

It’s a topic that’s been brought up at Ohio State before — in an interview with The Lantern June 24, athletic director and vice president Gene Smith said he had been in contact with former Buckeye basketball star Greg Oden about whether Oden would return to OSU to complete his degree.

“He’s unsure, but there’s a possibility he might come back, and even though he’s a multi-millionaire, we’ll probably end up paying for his degree,” Smith said.

But Oden might have arguably violated one of the Big Ten’s requirements more recently.

Just more than a month following The Lantern’s discussion with Smith, Oden was arrested Aug. 7 on battery charges following an incident in which he allegedly hit his girlfriend.

John Macko, OSU’s Athletic Academic Counselor said former Buckeye football players Rickey Dudley and Pepe Pearson have completed their programs and earned their degrees from OSU.

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