NASHVILLE, Tenn. – College football games being played on every night of the week. Classes canceled to avoid a crush between fans and students. Campuses turning into farm teams for the NFL or NBA.
Call it a runaway train or an arms race, but the increasing commercialization of college athletics and pressure on athletes to perform has faculty at colleges nationwide worried. On Friday, an organization representing several dozen Division I-A schools put forth a wide-ranging reform plan.
“It’s a trend,” said Candace White, the faculty senate president at the University of Tennessee. “If we don’t check it now, there’s no telling where it can end up.”
Members of the Coalition for Intercollegiate Athletics endorsed a proposal that would protect time for classes by limiting sports seasons and fight academic fraud by monitoring student-athletes’ courses and grades.
The plan also suggests changes to policies regarding admissions, scholarships, curricular integrity and academic advising of athletes.
“The student-athletes are sometimes victims,” White said. “It’s not that we’re anti-athlete or anti-athletics. We’re universities first, and the student-athletes are students first.”
The plan endorses three changes to NCAA bylaws that would allow individual colleges to collect information on which classes athletes are taking and their grades, eliminate divided competition seasons such as in baseball, and replace one-year athletic scholarships with five-year scholarships reviewed annually.
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