New Organization to Advocate for College Athletes

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A newly founded advocacy organization, founded by a former NCAA investigator and attorney, could help bring more awareness to the issues facing collegiate student-athletes.

CBS Sports reports that the College Athlete Advocacy Initiative, which launched on Monday, aims to advocate, inform and organize for student-athletes and their families on a multitude of issues to help those groups bring about reforms.

Founded by Tim Nevius, the organization will help athletes with issues ranging from financial aid cancellation and transfer penalties to health and safety concerns and mistreatment and abuse. It plans to develop advocacy campaigns that include student-athlete-led demonstrations, which, according to Nevius “can be anything from wearing particular socks or wrist bands to taking a knee to raising a fist all the way to boycotting a game.”

Among CAAI advisors are former University of Wisconsin basketball player Nigel Hayes and former University of Central Florida football kicker Donald De La Haye, both of whom had issues with the NCAA during their time as student-athletes.

Nevius, himself a former athlete, is now a New York-based attorney whose practice is focused on collegiate student-athletes. As part of its advocacy mission, CAAI will reportedly provide pro bono legal work for collegiate athletes through a partnership with the Urban Justice Center of New York.

“What I’ve noticed is, through my practice this past year, we developed a fairly large network of athletes who are upset about their experience in the system,” Nevius told CBS Sports. “We’re tapping into that network, too.”

In recent years, a number of similar organizations have popped up, including All Players United and the College Athletes Players Association. It remains to be seen what impact CAAI will have on collegiate athletics, but their launch is something athletic departments should pay close attention to.

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