Five members of Congress, including some who have criticized the NCAA’s handling of recent sanctions against Penn State University and Syracuse University, introduced a bill last week aimed at NCAA reform.
Reps. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.), Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), John Katko (R-N.Y.) and Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) announced plans last Thursday to introduce the National Collegiate Athletics Accountability Act, local and national media outlets reported. The bill is similar to legislation Dent and Beatty proposed in 2013, according to the Huffington Post:
Like that bill, the new legislation requires concussion testing for all athletes in contact sports, mandates that schools guarantee four-year scholarships to athletes in those sports, and seeks to improve due process rights for athletes and schools accused of NCAA rules infractions. The bill would prevent universities from accessing federal Title IV education funds if they do not comply with these stipulations.
The bill also would create a presidential commission to oversee broad issues of college athletics, such as financial transparency, tax regulations and the recruiting and retention of student-athletes, the Allentown (Pa.) Morning Call reported.
“Make no mistake about it, the NCAA is a corporate colossus, and it’s high time we take a look at it,” Katko said in a PennLive.com report.
At a press conference, Rush was most critical of the NCAA, saying it “exploits (athletes’) labor without pay,” according to the Huffington Post. Rush added it is beyond time to reform “the abysmal cesspool that’s called college athletics in America.”
Dent, who like Thompson is a Penn State graduate, said the bill was born from the NCAA's responses to letters he wrote regarding the NCAA sanctions against Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal, the Morning Call reported. Dent and Thompson said the NCAA did not provide Penn State with due process.
“The attitude of that institution, their lack of responsiveness and frankly the arrogant way they handled it, is what drove me,” Dent said in the Morning Call. “[The NCAA] had a total lack of regard to people who appropriate public money.”
Katko represents a district in New York that includes Syracuse. He was critical of the sanctions against the Syracuse University football and men’s basketball teams, including a nine-game suspension of Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim. Katko said the NCAA “went out of their way to humiliate and pound on Jim Boeheim” and added the presidential commission would “take a fresh look at what the NCAA has become,” the Morning Call reported.
The NCAA had no comment on the bill, according to the media outlets.