Archive for the ‘NCAA reform’ Category

Whether you are a sports fan or not, it is probable that you’ve heard about Louisville’s Kevin Ware’s injury. It seemed like an innocent play, Ware attempts an acrobatic play and lands on one leg, except the outcome was much different. Ware experienced a compound fracture during the Midwest Regional against Duke University, arguably the most gruesome sports injury to ever be televised.

And after a successful surgery and much support from his teammates, coaches and fans, Ware was able to make it back to Atlanta to the National Championship and experience the Louisville win. But all might not be well and good.

What many people don’t realize is that collegiate players are not guaranteed that all of their medical costs will be covered post injury. An article by ABC News looks into the issues surrounding NCAA healthcare, and how players may be left to pick up the bills after college.

According to Ramogi Huma, president of the National College Players Association, a student-athlete may be initially covered by the NCAA healthcare, but students can later lose their athletic scholarships or if they leave the school they would lose the healthcare insurance.

The article states that Ware’s injury is currently covered and he is not in danger of losing his scholarship due to injury. But other players have not been as lucky.

In 2010, former Rice University player Joseph Agnew sued the NCAA in an anti-trust suit over his one-year renewable scholarship. He claimed that after having surgery on both his shoulder and ankle, his scholarship was not renewed for his senior year. Because of this, he had to cover the rest of the medical costs.

In another case, Kyle Hardrick, former basketball player at the University of Oklahoma, did not have his scholarship renewed after a knee injury and then transferred to a community college. His mother testified at a congressional hearing that she had to pay out-of-pocket after her insurance company didn’t cover her son’s medical care. It was also stated that Oklahoma would not pay additional charges related to the knee injury.

Last year the California State Legislature passed the Student Athlete Bill of Rights. This bill requires universities to cover healthcare premiums and to pay deductibles for any sports-related injury for up to two years after they leave the university. The bill also requires that if a student-athlete were to lose an athletic scholarship because of an injury, the university must offer another scholarship equivalent to the previous one.

With Ware’s injury garnering so much attention, the new hope is that all states will adopt the Student Athlete Bill of Rights and protect all collegiate athletes from rising healthcare costs.

At 41-years-old, Ed O’Bannon is seen as a legend in the basketball world. Back in his collegiate days, he led UCLA to a national championship. He played two seasons for the New Jersey Nets(now Brooklyn Nets), before a nagging knee injury forced him to leave the NBA and play professionally overseas for many years.

Now, O’Bannon’s name has been in sports headlines for his lawsuit against the NCAA and bringing awareness to the corrupt nature of the collegiate sports powerhouse.

Ed O'Bannon. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Ed O’Bannon. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

in 2009, O’Bannon noticed his UCLA likeness being used in a college basketball video game without his consent. From there he thought about the profits the NCAA had been making on his behalf without giving any compensation for his talents.

The NCAA claims they maintain his likeness perpetually because of the clause, “forever and throughout the universe” stated in the contractual papers student-athletes sign when they enter college to play a sport. But O’Bannon claims that a 17 or 18 year old kid doesn’t know what he or she is doing by signing a contract of that magnitude with no legal representation.

If the lawsuit ends in favor of O’Bannon and collegiate athletes, the NCAA would be forced to pay billions of dollars in compensation and college sports would have to adopt a market-based model.

Two months ago, a judge ruled that the plaintiffs in O’Bannon’s suit could go for the broadcast revenues. The next court date is June 20 and it will be decided whether the case will go forward as a class action.

 

Fans of March Madness understand the point that anything can happen on any given night. I personally believe that the seed doesn’t matter, because teams have continuously proven to stun the sports world every year. When I was filling out my bracket after Selection Sunday, I thought I had it signed, sealed and delivered. I chose my few upsets for the tournament and had faith in the higher seeds to advance.

I was wrong.

Like most people in the run for March Madness, my bracket is in shambles! But I’ll accept it for the single fact that these games have been beyond entertaining. Let’s take a look at some of the upsets this year that shocked fans, coaches and even the teams themselves.

Marshall_Henderson_Wiki

No. 12 Oregon over No. 5 Oklahoma State – Arsalan Kazemi’s double-double led the Ducks past the Cowboys 68-55.

No. 12 California over No. 5 UNLV – California had four different players score in double-digits to win 64-61.

No. 12 Ole Miss over No. 5 Wisconsin – Ole Miss beat Wisconsin 57-46 after Marshall Henderson scored 17 points in the final 11.5 minutes alone.

No. 14 Harvard over No. 3 New Mexico – The Crimson stunned the sports world beating New Mexico 68-62, only playing 7 players the entire game.

No. 13 La Salle over No. 4 Kansas State – Jerrell Wright had 21 points and eight rebounds for La Salle as they beat Kansas State 63-61.

No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast over No. 2 Georgetown – In arguably the biggest upset of the tournament so far, FGCU beat the Hoyas 78-68, taking down a favorite for the Final Four.

No. 12 Oregon over No. 4 Saint Louis – Another upset for Oregon? Yup. They took down Saint Louis 74-57 in the second round of the tournament, taking a huge lead at halftime that couldn’t be cut down.

No. 9 Wichita State over No. 1 Gonzaga – Like many brackets, I had Gonzaga in the championship game. But Wichita State upset the No. 1 team in the country, beating them 76-70.

No. 13 La Salle over No. 12 Ole Miss – Yes, the seed difference was only by 1, but La Salle beating Ole Miss was surely an upset. A buzzer beater layup by Tyrone Garland gave La Salle the win, 76-74.

No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast over No. 7 San Diego State – FGCU marks the first 15 seed team to ever make it to the Sweet 16. Beating San Diego State 81-71, they are well on their way to another shocking performance.

The Sweet 16 games begin March 28th and I am more excited than ever. If the first part of this tournament has proved anything, it’s that it’s the year of the upset. Happy March everyone!

In recent weeks, we learned that the NCAA Division 1 Board of Directors will be reconsidering some proposals for rule changes in regards to recruiting regulations. This week, it was announced that the board will also reconsider three more proposals: eliminating the rule banning modes of communication, eliminating numerical limits on phone calls and prohibiting coaches from scouting future opponents in person.

Should coaches be allowed to have an unlimited amount of text messages to future prospects? This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

Should coaches be allowed to have an unlimited amount of text messages to future prospects? This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

Seventy-five schools have requested an override of the rules, resulting in the need for the board to reconsider. Some reasons behind the concern were a potential flaw in the work-life balance for coaches and the possibility that prospective student-athletes will be inundated with extensive communication with future coaches.

The Rules Working Group felt the original proposals would be beneficial to coaches, players and the NCAA. They felt by eliminating the rules regarding communication they would also eliminate the extensive compliance violations they are hit with each year.

But schools are not pleased with the thought process. In regards to prohibition on live scouting, many schools felt they would have a disadvantage due to a lack of quality video. According to an article on NCAA.org, it was stated that,

It is inconsistent with the NCAA deregulation theme and is biased against certain sports, particularly large field sports such as soccer, lacrosse and field hockey. Finally, it would call for added administrative oversight.

The Board of Directors will meet on May 2nd in Indianapolis to discuss further action.

One of the main issues that has been plaguing NCAA reform efforts since the beginning is the ability to pay student-athletes in monetary finances. This week, another argument arose fearing that paying these athletes would turn athletics into a professional atmosphere and violate university standards.

This past Thursday, NCAA lawyers wrote in a federal-court filing that if the proposition to lift certain rules regarding amateurism passed—such as allowing players to be paid—some schools might leave Division 1 or Bowl Subdivision football because of “the financial and legal burden that would result from needing to share revenue with football and mens basketball players.”

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Representatives from the University of Texas, California State University, Utah State and Wake Forest all cited concerns regarding the potential pay-for-play circumstances. According to a  USA Today article, Wake Forest’s president, Nathan Hatch, expressed concern over gender equity and Title IX compliance. Utah State’s president also noted the difficulties that may potentially arise in funding all of the sports at the university if players were paid.

Determining how revenue would be allocated is still an issue being debated. The disparity between past football and basketball players being compensated for the use of their likeness and image and current players being given a pay check is still unclear.

In a serious of complicated lawsuits and detailed arguments, the question still remains clear. Is it fair to pay student-athletes and will it dramatically change the NCAA as we know it?

The NCAA recently came up with 25 measures to deregulate recruiting. Last week, however, two of the potential proposals were forced to be put on hold by the NCAA due to outrage from various schools.

The two suspended proposals had to do with recruiting staff size and printed materials that can be sent to recruits. The Rules Working Group will have to go over the proposals before the next NCAA board of directors meeting in May.

The negative feedback came about soon after the board of directors voted on the deregulation package. Many football coaches and athletic directors voiced their opinions about the changes, causing the proposals to be placed on hold and further reviewed.

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

According to an article in USA Today, the issues about the proposals were mostly around, “escalating the  ‘arms race’ environment in recruiting”, specifically the ability of some programs to hire NFL-style personnel departments that only recruit. The current rule in place is that recruiting may only be done by full-time coaching staff members with on-field duties.

The other proposal issue was that eliminating the size and cost restrictions on printed materials and unlimited text messaging to recruits would impact school’s budgets. An example given was the impact on a budget if schools starting sending “Fathead” posters with pictures of recruits on them.

Proposals set forth by the NCAA board of directors can be overturned by 75 override votes.

Three minutes and thirty-eight seconds may seem like a short amount of time for most people, but for Orlando Sanchez, it has created a barrier.

Sanchez, a 24-year-old basketball superstar from the Dominican Republic, is currently battling with the NCAA to let him play collegiate basketball at St. John’s University, despite what some may define as “flaws” in the system. According to NCAA rule 14.2.3.5, that has since been rescinded,  every time an athlete older than 21 participates in an organized sports competition, a full year of eligibility is accounted for. Unfortunately for Sanchez, the change went into effect a year too late in relation to him.

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

In accordance with the rule, Sanchez is seen as losing a year of eligibility when he played eight games with a local club team in the Dominican Republic, one year when he played 3:38 in a game for the Dominican Republic national team, and two years of eligibility when he attended and played at Monroe Community College in New Rochelle, N.Y.

But the reasons behind Sanchez not heading to a full-time college sooner isn’t because of inappropriate behavior or something in his control. Sanchez had been trying to help his family out financially by working.

So why should he suffer and not be able to play?

St. John’s University, Sanchez and his attorney, are now fighting the NCAA to grant Sanchez eligibility on the grounds of legitimate hardship. This past Monday, St. John’s submitted another round of paperwork to the NCAA, in the hopes that they will look one more time at potentially granting a waiver.

According to an article on ESPN.com, Sanchez does not want to throw his name directly into the draft and bypass all of the convoluted rules. He wants to go to college. So why should the NCAA deny an athlete the rights to BE a student-athlete when the NCAA has been fighting for so long to have players stay  in college and not leave for the draft?

Maybe it’s just hypocrisy at its finest…