by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Shannon Watkins of the Martin Center devotes her latest column to the possibility of significant athletics reform in N.C. higher education.
Many colleges are setting up their student-athletes for failure. Whether one looks to the long-term neurological health risks that young athletes are subject to, or the myriad cases of academic dishonesty within athletics departments, it appears that the personal and academic well-being of student-athletes is often compromised for the sake of “the game.”
Fortunately, the North Carolina legislature is taking a close look at how to improve colleges’ treatment of student-athletes. Over the summer, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a bill that established a Legislative Commission on the Fair Treatment of Student-Athletes. The commission is chaired by lieutenant governor Dan Forest and will have six meetings before it recommends legislation. Two meetings have already been held.
During the first meeting on October 3, the commission discussed how athletes’ medical needs are—or aren’t—covered after a sports-related injury.
The commission’s second meeting on November 8 dealt with whether academics and athletics are compatible—a highly contested issue of late, especially after the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s infamous athletics-academic scandal that became a six-year saga.
For its part, the Martin Center has had several long-standing recommendations for college athletics reform that could strengthen the commission’s recommendations.