By Ken Reed
It’s an understatement to say the NCAA has a few problems these days.
The concussion issue is huge. The “pay-for-play” issue is gigantic.
But another major issue on the NCAA’s plate, one that perhaps places the NCAA in an even worse light than the concussion or “pay-for-play” issues — if that’s possible — is the growing problem of college athletes involved in sexual assault cases. The way the NCAA and its member schools have handled — or ignored — this issue is, in too many cases, reprehensible.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) released the findings of a campus sex assault survey last month. One shocking finding among many was that 22 percent of a national sample of colleges and universities said they gave athletic departments an oversight role in sexual assault cases involving athletes.
“I don’t need to explain why that is a big problem,” McCaskill said. The athletic departments, she said, want to protect athletes. “I think it would scare just about any victim into the shadows,” she concluded.
That survey follows high profile sexual assault cases involving athletes at Florida State University (including Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston) and Vanderbilt university, among others, including the Air Force Academy.
Sexual assault is a growing problem on our nation’s campuses. A Washington Post study based on data from 2010-12 found a rising number of reports of forcible-sex offenses at many schools. Currently, more than 60 colleges and universities face federal Title IX investigations related to their handling of sexual violence complaints.
The Air Force Academy sex scandal is the latest to come to the forefront. Air Force Academy leaders are dealing with reports of sexual assault involving multiple athletes in recent years. Included in the allegations is a report of a party involving several Air Force athletes, synthetic marijuana, a “date-rape” drug and non-consensual sex with women. These reports follow accusations that Air Force athletes receive special academic treatment.
At a July hearing in front of a United States Senate committee looking at the state of college athletics, NCAA president Mark Emmert faced heavy criticism for his organization’s approach to sexual assault involving athletes.
“You’ve got to fix that, Dr. Emmert. Walk out this door and fix that,” said Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH).
She could’ve given the same directive to college and university presidents across the country — especially those heading up schools with big-time Division I sports departments.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #17 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports With Legendary New York Times Sports Columnist Robert Lipsyte – We chat about Lipsyte’s amazing career and some of the athletes he covered and got to know well, like Muhammad Ali, as well as his relationships with fellow sports journalists like Bob Costas and Howard Cosell.
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Episode #16 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Andrew Maraniss: Outstanding Author of Books That Focus On the Intersection of Sports, History and Social Justice.
Episode #15 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Psychology with Dr. Tim Rice. We discuss the growth of sports psychology at all levels, the positive impact that a number of high profile athletes have had by opening up, and the importance of everyone involved in sports caring for the whole athlete, mind and body.
Episode #14 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Making Sense of the Injury Pandemic in Major League Baseball – Gary McCoy is a strength, conditioning and high performance coach who has worked with several Major League Baseball organizations.
Episode #13 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Conversation With Long-Time MLB Exec Dan Evans About What’s Right With Baseball and What Could Be Better – Evans is a former general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers and is currently a consultant for Go the Distance Baseball, which owns the Field of Dreams movie site.
Episode #12 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Fun Chat With Dan Gutman, Author of the Baseball Card Adventure Series for Kids
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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