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 #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan in the year 2022.
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Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
Episode #20 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Coaching Youth and High School Sports Based On What’s Best for the Athlete’s Holistic Development – We chat with long-time youth, high school and college basketball coach Jim Huber.
Episode #19 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Capturing the Spirit of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League with Anika Orrock – We discuss the hoops AAGPFL women had to jump through to play the game they loved as well as the long-term impact and legacy they have in advancing sports opportunities for girls and women.
Episode #18 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking about the 50th Anniversary of Title IX and the Lia Thomas Controversy with Nancy Hogshead-Makar – Hogshead-Makar is a triple gold medalist in swimming, a civil rights attorney and CEO of Champion Women.
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.
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.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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