If passed, a new piece of Congressional legislation would require schools to guarantee scholarships for four years, reform NCAA policies and create a government commission to oversee college athletics, according to USA Today.
USA Today reports that the bill would require schools to guarantee athletic scholarships for four years, improve concussion testing in contact sports and reform the NCAA’s process for dealing with rules infractions.
The legislation is a reintroduction of an idea proposed in the summer of 2013, though that bill stalled in a subcommittee. That 2013 bill was written by Representatives Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) and Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), and that duo is joined by three more Congress members in promoting the bill this time around. Also involved in this new proposal are Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), John Katko (R-N.Y.) and Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.).
The bill also pulls ideas from other failed legislation that would create a Presidential Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, with 17 government officials reviewing the state of college athletics and making recommendations to the President.
Reform in college athletics continues to be a hot topic of conversation as the money involved swells with each passing year. In particular, football and men’s basketball are drawing huge sums of money to schools and the NCAA, with some critics advocating that the players are not being compensated as well as they deserve. The counterargument, though, of paying college athletes in revenue-producing sports is that schools would make cuts to non-revenue sports like swimming to cover the costs.
The representatives behind this new bill didn’t mince words when describing the current setup of college athletics. According to USA Today, Rush drew a parallel to slavery, calling the NCAA “the last plantation in America,” and college athletics an “abysmal cesspool.”
The other very interesting piece of the USA Today report is that as the calls grow louder for NCAA reform, the NCAA has stepped up its lobbying funding in a big way. USA Today reports that the NCAA spent $110,000 on lobbying activities in the first quarter of 2015 alone, and last year spent $580,000 on lobbying in total – more than it did on lobbying over the past three years combined.