A-G Administrators is now A-G Specialty Insurance

Learn More

Jun 01, 2023

NCAA Transformation Committee: What to Know About Health Regulations

NCAA Transformation Committee: What to Know About Health Regulations

The NCAA recently held its annual convention in San Antonio, where the Division 1 Board of Directors endorsed the recommendations of an ad hoc committee they formed to examine ways to transform the NCAA’s relationship with student-athletes. The sweeping recommendations cover everything from academic support to medical expenses and insurance.

Medical expenses, in particular, will see significant changes throughout 2023 and beyond. With that in mind, schools must keep updated about new rules and regulations. Read on to learn more about the upcoming medical trends for collegiate athletic teams, including the purchase of insurance, financial support and expenses, health and safety, and the development of a holistic student-athlete benefits model.

Purchasing Insurance

College soccer player doing mobility training.The NCAA Transformation Committee has announced that Division 1 institutions can purchase student-athlete insurance. This move aims to provide more benefits and coverage to student-athletes and enhance their overall experience. While some institutions may have already been providing this type of coverage, the NCAA committee aims to normalize it and create a common denominator of coverage. The types of coverage that might be part of the “common denominator” may include health, dental, vision, disability, loss of value, and coverage for Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) activities.

NIL coverage is a relatively new concept that has emerged as institutions have become more involved in helping guide student-athletes and explore relationships between them and their sponsors. NIL coverage can help institutions protect their assets and encourage benefits for student-athletes pursuing individual financial means.

While cost is a significant hurdle, institutions can be efficient within their means to provide additional services and benefits to improve the student-athlete experience. Though coverage may not come cheap, providing more benefits and coverage to student-athletes can also help promote an institution’s brand and competitiveness in the current recruiting landscape.

Financial Support and Expenses

The NCAA Transformation Committee’s new policy on student-athlete financial support and expenses includes funding for student-athletes to participate in elite-level training, tryouts, and competitions, including regional, national, and world championships for any national team, not just the United States’. This policy creates challenges from an insurance standpoint, and institutions need to coordinate benefits with the National Governing Body’s (NGB) policies.

Athletic training staff and medical personnel are typically aware of this, but administrators should seek out other available coverage to offset liability. Institutions should engage with risk managers, insurance directors, and student affairs offices to identify potential policies and processes that could benefit student-athletes while avoiding redundant coverage.

The NCAA’s new recommendations also allow institutions to extend blanket travel accident policies to cover student-athletes’ official and related travel. These policies are affordable and can provide robust coverage for accidents and sickness, including travel assistance services. Institutions can also transfer their risks at a very reasonable cost while protecting their assets. The travel assistance services are attractive as they prearrange for medical facilities and medical evacuation should they be needed when student-athletes travel abroad, and they help with travel interruption.

Health and Safety

Thousands of college football fans dressed in orange. Another point covered in the recent NCAA Transformation Committee recommendations is the updated health and safety requirements, which schools must implement by July 1, 2023. The changes included:

  • Formalizing health and safety requirements
  • Developing training and education
  • Mandating appropriate reporting structures
  • Empowering campus athletics health care administrators

To help colleges implement the changes, we recommend partnering with the United States Council for Athletes’ Health (USCAH). USCAH can help provide resources for best practices, training, and emergency action plans for institutions while serving as an external review that aids the reaccreditation process.

External reviewers will become only more commonplace in collegiate athletics as they are unbiased in assessing the changes a college makes. For example, another requirement that Division 1 will start this year is a regular review of physical and mental health safety and performance, which a conference office may oversee. To ensure that colleges prepare and track the proper documentation, they should coordinate with their athletic training staff, medical personnel, health care advocates, general counsel’s office, and risk managers’ office to ensure consistent communication and execution of coverage.

Holistic Student-Athlete Benefits Model

The final point regarding athlete health and insurance from the NCAA Transformation Committee committee was developing a holistic student-athlete benefits model. Specifically, colleges need to prepare for increased access to medical coverage for athletic injuries for at least two years after an athlete’s athletic experience is completed.

From an insurance perspective, this would not require actuarial updates to provide additional coverage beyond the current benefit periods of two, four, or five years. Instead, the focus should be on maintaining continuity of care for student-athletes and how to offset any policy abuse. Athletic leadership needs to invest in the appropriate people, policies, and support to achieve that focus.

The insurance side of such extended coverage works with carriers’ filings; the NCAA committee ‘s recommendations do not simply result in a change in insurance coverage as carriers must file appropriate policy language enhancements with the Department of Insurance in each state. With that said, policies need to have explicit language and benefits periods, which may look different for different universities. Some universities may want to transfer all their risk to a carrier and pay higher premiums, while others may prefer to self-fund injury claims after several years. In any case, there is no one correct answer; if the school is comfortable with the institutional risk they assume, that policy is right for them.

Getting Ahead of Collegiate Athletic Medical Trends

Although the recent changes to student-athlete health requirements may seem overwhelming, you’re not alone. A-G Specialty Insurance has years of industry experience in navigating shifting regulations to protect schools and their athletes.

Regardless of whether you need to change a current insurance policy or explore a new one entirely, A-G sports insurance specialists work with the top carriers and brokers in the market to get you the best combination of price and coverage available.

If you want to seamlessly transition your team into the new age of NCAA medical regulations, click here to request a quote.


More News & Press can be found in our Archive.


A-G has the experience to offer the best custom coverage for every program and the best customer service to ensure a worry-free process for every claim. The nation’s most competitive K-12, collegiate and youth programs Achieve Greatness with A-G!

© 2024 A-G Specialty Insurance, LLC. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy