By Ken Reed

The national media has focused on “pay-for-play” for college athletes after the recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling allowing Northwestern University football players to unionize.

However, if the ruling survives all the legal challenges to come, the first order of business for the Northwestern union should be addressing the following non pay-for-play issues:

1) Cover All Sports-Related Medical Expenses for Athletes and Disallow the Pulling of Scholarships From Athletes Who Suffer Injuries While Engaged in Sports Activities For Their School

Currently, there are athletes losing their athletic scholarships (or having them reduced) due to injuries occurred during athletic competition for their university. That’s simply wrong.

As the National College Players Association (NCPA), headed by former UCLA linebacker Ramogi Huma says, “It is immoral to allow a university to reduce or refuse to renew a college athlete’s scholarship after sustaining an injury while playing for the university.”

Even worse is the fact that some schools aren’t paying for all — or part – of athletes’ medical expenses that are clearly tied to sports-related injuries. Both of those occurrences need to stop.

2) Require Athletic Scholarships to Cover the Full-Cost of College Attendance

“Full” athletic scholarships should be just that and cover the full-cost of college attendance for students.

According to an NCPA and Drexel University study, the average scholarship shortfall (out-of-pocket expenses) for each “full” scholarship athlete was approximately $3,222 per player during the 2010-11 school year.

Many major college football and basketball players come from impoverished circumstances. The full cost of attendance should be covered under full athletic scholarship programs. The NCPA suggests these additional scholarship costs could be easily covered by using a relatively small percentage of post-season revenues. That sounds reasonable.

3) Develop Policies That Severely Limit Weekday Games

Academic performance is hindered, and graduation rates are damaged, by the growing number of NCAA Division I games that take place on weekdays. In order to honor the NCAA’s stated mission “to integrate intercollegiate athletics so that the educational experience of the student athlete is paramount” the number of weekday games needs to be curtailed significantly.

Scheduling Tuesday and Wednesday night football games is not in the best interests of students’ educational work.

These issues need to be addressed quickly. They’re straightforward and don’t require complex solutions.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


Comments are closed.

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.