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 #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
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Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
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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