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 #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
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.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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