NCAA set to receive proposals for college sports reform

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The National Collegiate Athletic Association is meeting this week and is expected to receive two proposals that aim to improve student athlete welfare

They may also receive a number of proposals to modify college athletics and bring the haves and have-nots closer together.

The NCAA and universities — and the way they make billions of dollars from student athletes and yet only give them scholarship money, which many say doesn’t even cover the full cost of attendance — have been under fire for some time, but it’s become particularly intense in the wake of an article in The Atlantic that looked at “The Shame of College Sports.”

Brad Wolverton, a reporter for the Chronicle of Higher Education, has been following the NCAA’s reform work and said the two proposals most likely to be endorsed include one that increases the value of a college athletic scholasrhip by $2,000 and another that would require colleges and universities to grant multi-year scholarships. Currently, scholarships are valid for only one year and are renewed at the discretion of the coach and university.

“It’s unclear how many other proposals will go to the board this week,” he said.

The logic behind the increase in the value of scholarships, in addition to beginning to address the charge that college athletics have, as The Atlantic put it, an “an unmistakable whiff of the plantation,” is that student athletes spend about $4,000 beyond the value of their scholarships to attend a university. This money would help go toward things like flights back to their homes and other incidentals.

The scholarship question is another that has drawn intense criticism. Student-athletes commit to a school, but if the coach changes or the university chooses, that student can lose his or her scholarhip after each season. The draft proposal that the NCAA will consider would require schools to make multi-year committments.

Other proposals that have been considered, but which may or may not be shared with the NCAA Board of Directors, include eliminating foreign travel, reducing regular season games, cutting back on non-coaching positions in athletic departments and raising the minimum admission standards for incoming students, as well as other. There’s also talk of requiring community college students to sit out a year to get their academic affairs in order before competing.

“They want to show they’re more serious about academics,” Wolverton said.


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