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Michelle Brutlag Hosick | NCAA.com | June 25, 2015

NCAA extends family travel expense pilot program for DI men's, women's hoops

The NCAA will pay for travel expenses for families traveling to the semifinal and final rounds of the men’s and women’s basketball championships for an additional year, the Division I Council decided Wednesday.

The Council voted to extend by one year a pilot program that paid for family travel expenses for the 2015 championship. The extension was recommended by both the Division I Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee and the Division I Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee.

“This program was a great benefit for the student-athletes and their families, and we want to make sure next year’s championship participants have the same family support available to them,” said Dan Guerrero, chair of the Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee and athletics director at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The Division I Football Oversight Committee also recommended that the program be extended for the College Football Playoff. The committee will work with the College Football Playoff to work out funding the travel expenses to the national championship game for an additional year.

The Football Championship Subdivision Subcommittee will review the issue for potential future implementation for that championship. The subcommittee will report back to the Football Oversight Committee in September.

The Competition Oversight Committee, which oversees policies related to sports other than football and basketball, indicated it was studying the issue for other championships.

Members noted the positive benefits the program had during this year’s basketball championships and College Football Playoff for college athletes who had the support of their families at those events.

The program will operate as it did in 2015: The NCAA will pay up to $3,000 total in travel, hotel and meal expenses for family members of each student-athlete who competes in the Final Four semifinal games but don’t advance to the championships. The NCAA will pay up to $4,000 in expenses for each student-athlete who competes in the men’s and women’s basketball championship games.

Schools will decide how and when to distribute funds to family members but should make sure the funds are used as intended.

The allowance is meant to cover transportation, hotel and meals for two family members per student-athlete. There are no requirements on how far a family has to travel to receive the allowance.

The extension marks the next step in expanding benefits provided to families of college athletes. During the 2013 Men’s Final Four, the NCAA provided free tickets to the families and moved their seats behind the team benches. During the 2014 Men’s Final Four, the NCAA also hosted a special reception for family members of student-athletes.

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