University sport is back. Take it from the Virginia Tech Hokies fans. On September 3, nearly 70,000 of them shouted the team’s entry song, Enter Sandman by Metallica, in the 2021-22 season opener against the University of North Carolina Tar Heels. The Virginia Tech crowd was so excited that their rendition of the rock classic recorded as seismographic activity.
But there are other shakes that are reshaping varsity sport. How will the US Supreme Court’s summer decision allowing student-athletes to earn money from sponsorships play out on campus? From colleges rethinking the role of sport to game-changing legal affairs, in today’s Daily Dose we give you a seat on the pitch for changes that could fundamentally alter the relationship between NCAA, school campuses. and athletes.
Let’s be legal
Talking on TV
The big money is about to start arriving soon for varsity athletes across the United States after the NCAA’s continued attempts to limit student income suffered a set of setbacks. In June, a federal judge rejected a request by the collegiate body to prevent athletes from getting a reduction in television rights and derive income from their name, image and likeness. For years, the NCAA has banned college athletes from receiving media money or endorsement (in what is a $ 14 billion industry) because of their student status, preferring instead to grant many full scholarships.
The woes of the vaccine
Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett last month issued an order in Klaassen v. Indiana University Trustees which allowed the latter to require that all students be vaccinated against COVID-19. The judgment could have a training effect across the world of varsity sport in a climate where reopening of schools and mask mandates have already polarized the nation. The eight students in the Indiana University case argued that the school’s vaccine requirement violates their 14th amendment rights, even if a lower court had already ruled against them. Hundreds of colleges across the United States now have similar vaccination mandates.
But vaccines and money aren’t the only things students battle the NCAA over. In December, historically black college and university students (HBCU) filed a class action lawsuit against the organization, alleging unfair penalties in its academic performance program (APP). As part of the program – designed to improve the academic performance of student-athletes – the NCAA rewards schools with high scores. But the complainants argue that the APP ignores the fact that HBCUs Enroll Low Income, at-risk students who are academically disadvantaged due to historical discrimination. The APP, by keeping HBCUs to the same standards as students in mostly white institutions, “perpetuates a system that punishes black student-athletes in HBCUs,” they say.
This summer, the Office of Civil Rights at the US Department of Education asserted that Title IX will now be applied against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity as an interpretation of Bostock v. Clayton County, a historic civil rights case involving unfair dismissal on the basis of sexual orientation. As schools reopen, the federal government’s move could be crucial in tackling continued discrimination against LGBTQ college athletes. For its part, the NCAA is now engaged not to organize events in states that are not welcoming to transgender athletes.
Campus life for athletes
Different admission standards
Yet student-athletes are not always victims. They can also be beneficiaries of unequal standards on campus. In 2019, Stanford fired his head sailing trainer for accepting bribes to help some students get admitted by appointing them as recruits, a scandal detailed in a recent Netflix Documentary. The said “special admits“are subject to different academic standards, including lower SAT / ACT and GPA scores, a practice that has been described by critics as”original sin of college sport. ” At University of Pennsylvania, students in the 2020-2021 admission cycle were not required to submit standardized test results. . . but the athletes recruited were, as Ivy League policies require. Could this be a mechanism to level the playing field between special admissions and students?
College athletes in Division I schools, especially those who depend on sport for their income, are often pushed to cheaper majors to accommodate their rigorous training and match schedules. It’s called “regrouping”- when 25% or more of the same team registers in the same major. At the University of Oregon, for example, athletes cluster in the social sciences. At the University of California at Los Angeles, they choose history. In a survey of more than 600 varsity athletes at Big Ten Conference schools and other sports centers, researcher Amanda Paule-Koba of Bowling Green State University in Ohio found that 30% of students were not pursuing majors that matched their interests or career goals.
Is this a myth?
Is it possible to be a student and athlete in a large school? Schools have long cultivated the myth of amateurism to justify not paying athletes. But the challenges of being a student in an academically oriented school can go both ways. Data Harvard Class of 2020 found that one in four athletes have dropped out of their sport in college for reasons ranging from mental health issues and injuries to loss of interest in the sport of their choice. In 2016, Brunette college revealed that about a third of their students have given up their sport.
Beat a job on campus!
Most students earn minimum wage for campus jobs. But no Quinn Ewers of Ohio State Football. He earns $ 1.5 million for his contributions to the team thanks to the recent Supreme Court ruling on student-athletes. Ewers was initially the high school’s top prospect in the recruiting class for 2022, but he decided to skip his senior year and join the 2021 class to bypass a texan law prevent high school athletes from making money from their sport. The quarterback has signed deals with a beverage company and a car dealership.
Rethinking sport at school
As in professional sport, the mental health of university athletes is finally taking center stage as a subject of research and debate. Although student-athletes are less likely to commit suicide as the general population or other undergraduates, a 2020 survey NCAA players found a crisis spawned by a pandemic. Reports of mental health problems were 150-250% higher than in previous survey years. When it comes to student-athletes, men are at greater risk of suicide than women, and black athletes are more vulnerable than their white counterparts. The highest suicide rates are among male soccer players.
Is wellness the way to go?
In 2012, Spelman College, the Atlanta-based all-female HBCU, has decided to disband its sports teams and reinvest that money into wellness programs, from mental health counseling to Zumba. The 2,200-student college had only about 80 athletes when the decision was made, but the athletics budget was $ 900,000 – funds that are now directed to the entire student body. As the pandemic forces schools to dramatically cut costs amid worsening mental health problems, some experts are calling for The Spelman model to adopt by more universities and colleges – especially since a majority of sports programs fail to generate significant fan interest despite heavy investment.
International students increasingly constitute a significant portion of students on campus, with Canada being the primary source of Division 1 and tennis the most popular university sport among them. In 2019, almost 13% of male college athletes were international students. Unfortunately, the conditions of the student visa prevent international student-athletes to take advantage of their resemblance as their American peers can. Some lawmakers are trying to change this. An idea is to make it easier for international students to obtain a business visa instead of a student visa, which would allow them to earn money during their academic career.
More and more recruits are opting for HBCUs rather than traditional ones sporting powers. They want to “make the HBCU movement real,” says Makur Maker, a former Howard University basketball rookie and the only five-star player to pick an HBCU. Maker, who now plays professionally in Australia, hopes his choice of Howard University will inspire other young black athletes to do the same. With his gaze on the NBA, he will take a path rarely traveled if he succeeds: there is only two former HBCUs play in the NBA today.