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.
- Navigating the Flagship Post-Wainstein
- Who’s at fault in South Bend?
- Confessions of a Whistleblower by Mary Willingham
- Willingham’s Written Testimony: Hearing on Promoting The Well-Being and Academic Success of College Athletes
- Rashad McCants
- Mary Willingham: A Response to the ‘Group’
- Jay Smith: That Infamous IRB Application
- Congressional Hearing Panel For College Athletes To Be Rescheduled
Links to topical articles on NCAA reform.
12.13.2014 – New York Times: As N.C.A.A. Issues Pile Up, a Call for a Commission
12.4.2014- News & Observer: US legislation would create presidential commission for college sports
11.11.2014- Daily Tarheel: McAdoo files class action lawsuit against UNC
9.11.2014- Inside Higher Education -The NCAA can’t be reformed-Congress should replace it (essay)
6.6.2014 – ESPN Outside the Lines: UNC’s McCants: ‘Just show up, play’
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.