A pilot program that began in January 2015 to help cover travel expenses for families of players on teams in the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Final Fours has now become official policy.
“The family travel program allows families to take part in the Final Fours and celebrate with their student-athletes,” Division I Council Chair Blake James (also the athletic director at the University of Miami) said in a statement.
The now-permanent program authorizes continued payments up to $3,000 total in travel, hotel and meal expenses for family members of each student-athlete on teams that compete in the Final Four semifinal games but don’t advance to the championships. The NCAA pays up to $4,000 in family expenses for each student-athlete on teams that make it to the national championship games.
According to the NCAA, school administrators decide how and when to distribute funds to family members but 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. Additionally, the NCAA has set no requirements on how far a family must travel to receive the allowance.
Last year, the pilot program allowed the parents of Kansas freshman forward Silvio De Sousa to fly 15 hours from the African nation of Angola to the United States to watch De Sousa play; it was the first time De Sousa had seen his parents in about a year.
The College Football Playoff also pays for families of participating student-athletes to travel to their events.