Martin Center column focuses on collegiate athletics reform

David Ridpath writes for the Martin Center about reforming collegiate athletics.

Like millions of others, I love college sports, but there are several reasons why it needs to change:

(1) An overwhelming majority—98 percent—of all athletics programs spend more than they make, requiring mandatory student fees and general fund subsidies that prompts tuition increases and more student debt;

(2) Excessive staff salaries and expensive building sprees for lavish athletes-only facilities that isolate them from other students and the college experience;

(3) The NCAA doesn’t use its power and resources to address the health and safety needs of college athletes;

(4) Academic fraud and other academic improprieties within athletic departments and extensive recruiting of athletes who do not meet admissions standards threaten academic integrity; and

(5) Outdated amateur rules prevent athletes from exploiting the rights to their own names, images, and likenesses, or seeking work available to non-athlete students.

The popularity of college sports is not going away, nor do I think it should. However, changes are necessary and not to be feared. The question we need to ask is: Should the management and conduct of college athletics be based on myth or reality?

As interim president of The Drake Group, a group of faculty, staff, and others concerned about the corrosive aspects of commercialized college sport on education, we have worked on athletic reform for nearly 20 years. The Drake Group has a reform plan based on the simple observation that the current model of college sports does not work as intended. Once all sides get to that baseline, then real change can happen.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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