Recent events, including the UNC athletic scandal, the Northwestern football team's unionization efforts, Ed O'Bannon's victory in federal court, pending concussion lawsuits, and Congressional interest in reassessing the viability of the NCAA, have made it abundantly clear that college sports require a major overhaul. It is well past time for the protection of athletes' interests to be the principal driver of change. As Taylor Branch has written, athletes should enjoy the same rights that every other college student, and every other citizen, takes for granted. No freedom should be abridged “because of athletic status." These basic freedoms include the right to pursue compensation, the right to due process, the right to legal representation, the right to bargain collectively, the right to transfer from one school to another without penalty, and the right to participate in their own governance. Unless and until the NBA and NFL own up to their responsibility to create legitimate farm systems for aspiring professional athletes, big-time commercial sports are likely to coexist uneasily with the academic institutions that have always housed them. We therefore believe that the coming reform of college athletics should be implemented with one goal preeminently in mind: securing athletes' access to a quality university education.
- Taking the “Independent” out of Independent Study
- Paper Class Inc. – Position Statement
- At UNC, dithering is done, but still deep in denial
- Blame it on Boxill?
- Navigating the Flagship Post-Wainstein
- Who’s at fault in South Bend?
- Confessions of a Whistleblower by Mary Willingham
Links to topical articles on NCAA reform.
1.23.15- CNN: Lawsuit claims UNC and NCAA broke promises in ‘spectacular fashion’
1.22.15-CBS Sports: Ex-North Carolina Athletes sue NCAA, UNC over academic scandal
1.13.2015-New York Times: Playing College Moneyball
1.13.2015-Inside Higher Education: Presidential Panel on College Sports?
When the whistle blows for the final time in their college careers, too many of our profit sport athletes have little to show for all of their efforts. They are unlikely to be able to play their sports professionally. Instead, as the NCAA commercial likes to say, “they will go pro in something else.” But their participation in college sports did not guarantee them an education that would prepare them adequately for life after sports.
Being a whistleblower is not good enough. It doesn’t solve the problem. My name is Mary Willingham. I’m a learning and reading specialist. I worked in athletics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. And I blew the whistle on academic fraud in college sports. Many college revenue athletes are not getting the educational opportunity that we promise. One of the reasons: many of the young men we cheer for on game day are under-prepared for college level work.
With your support, we can fix this problem.