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Legislators Introduce NCAA Accountability Act

Dr. Emmert, you’re headed to Washington. Frustration with the scope of the NCAA’s governance over college athletics has reached the federal level.

Representatives Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania’s 15th District and Joyce Beatty of Ohio’s 3rd District introduced the National Collegiate Athletics Accountability Act in a press conference Thursday. If successful, the legislation will reform “the arbitrary and opaque enforcement process currently utilized by the NCAA.”

In its current form, the legislation proposes an amendment to Section 487(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 that would ban higher education institutions that receive federal funding under Title IV from maintaining NCAA membership until the organization makes various changes to its current policies, including:

  • Mandatory annual concussion testing for all student athletes participating in both contact and limited-contact sports.
  • Establishing due process for athletes and institutions found in violation of NCAA rules by mandating an administrative hearing, at least one appeal, and “any other due process procedure the Secretary determines by regulation to be necessary.” In addition to this, any sanctions imposed by the NCAA would not begin until the end of the appeals process.
  • Requiring four-year scholarships for all student athletes participating in contact sports. The legislation considers contact sports to include boxing, field hockey, football, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, rodeo (lol), soccer, and wrestling.
  • Allowing institutions to provide stipends to athletes.

If Mark Emmert and the NCAA should decide not to comply with the proposed legislation and leave their policies as is, colleges and universities who continue to partake in NCAA competition would lose Title IV funding, which provides higher education institutions with $140 billion annually.

“We are talking about the health and safety and the education of hundreds of thousands of student athletes. We are also talking about ending the NCAA’s kangaroo courts and providing due process rights for student-athletes and member institutions,” said Dent. “These are our kids. It’s time to stop ignoring the flaws in the system. We owe it to them to take the proper corrective action and we hope our colleagues will join us in this effort.”

As a PA Congressman, Dent is no stranger to questions of the NCAA’s accountability stemming from last year’s sanctions levied against Penn State. In addition to this, it’s worth noting that Congresswoman Beatty previously served as Ohio State’s Senior Vice President for Outreach and Engagement when the NCAA gave Ohio State its judgment day following the tattoo scandal that led to the resignation of Jim Tressel.

As we all learned from Schoolhouse Rock, the bill must pass through the House of Representatives and the Senate before becoming law. While its future remains uncertain, a serious discussion on the future of the NCAA’s governance is coming.

You can view the full legislation below.

About the Author

Ali Fogarty

Ali Fogarty is a senior from the suburbs of Philadelphia majoring in Public Relations and Political Science who's passionate about Netflix and everything bagels.

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