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The National Collegiate Athletic Association will help cover the expenses of basketball players' family members who travel to the men's and women's Final Four games this spring, the association announced Tuesday. The NCAA also granted a waiver that allows the College Football Playoff to help cover the expenses of families traveling to the national championship football game next week.

Under a new pilot program, the NCAA will pay up to $3,000 in travel, hotel and meal expenses for family members of each athlete who competes in the Final Four. The association will pay as much as $4,000 for families of athletes playing in the championship games. The NCAA will allow the College Football Playoff to provide $3,000 in assistance to families of football players participating in the national championship. Member institutions can now also begin providing family travel expenses for other championships on a permanent basis, the NCAA said. The current, 14-year deal between CBS and the NCAA to broadcast the men's basketball tournament is worth $11 billion.

The change is among several the NCAA is making in response to pressure it's under to provide more support for athletes. At the NCAA convention next week, the newly autonomous "power five" conferences are expected to vote on several reforms, including providing better medical, financial, and academic support to athletes. "From multiyear scholarships to opportunities to return to school and complete their degree on scholarship, we have been dedicated to further improving the student-athlete experience since our presidential retreat in August 2011,” Mark Emmert, NCAA president said. “Providing travel expenses for student-athletes’ families is another example of this progress.”can we add a sentence of context saying that this is among the changes the NCAA is making to try to respond to pressure it's under to give more support to athletes? also, any sense how much this will in total? dl