New Congressional bill would reform NCAA, create government commission to oversee college sports

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.

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7 years ago

Terrible idea. The NCAA represents diverse schools who have divergent goals. Federal regulation as mandated by corrupt politicians is never the solution to an ever growing problem of the NCAA being a business. Sport at an American University must be part of education.

7 years ago

Ah, the Federal Government. That’ll fix it. Like naming Bernie Madoff to replace Sepp Blatter as FIFA president.

7 years ago

Slavery??? Slaves couldn’t just walk away if they were soooo unhappy. There is always somebody else who would be ecstatic to take the place of a NCAA athlete. These athletes choose to participate and can walk away anytime they want.

7 years ago

The good news is that the NCAA has been exposed as a corrupt and incompetent organization (like FIFA) in the way oversees a multi-billion dollar non-profit. The bad news is that some branch of the U.S. government will now be responsible for doing this oversight. Given the government’s track record in ineptly managing the Veterans Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, the National Security Agency, the Postal Service, the Transportation Security Agency, etc. while not being able to keep Government data safe from hackers, I’m wondering if the cure is worst than the disease.

7 years ago

Yup. Finally we can all breathe easy. Our sport is gonna be saved from the corporatization of amateur athletics now.

7 years ago

A reference to slavery????
Athletes have a choice in accepting a college scholarship.
Slaves did not have a choice in their disposition.

7 years ago

The NCAA makes huge profits, the government is $18,000,000,000,000 (that’s 18 TRILLION dollars in debt). Maybe the NCAA should oversee the federal government?

7 years ago

Can evil fix evil? Doubtful.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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