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Senators: Colleges Shouldn't Have COVID-19 Waivers

Brock Fritz

A pair of United States senators don’t believe colleges should be forcing student-athletes to sign COVID-19 waivers that “sign away their right to hold their school accountable.”

CBS Sports reported that senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) have crafted a bill that would keep liability on schools during the pandemic. A number of schools, including Ohio State and SMU, have asked athletes to sign waivers before returning to offseason workouts on campus. While the waivers typically ask athletes to take responsibility for their own health, SMU’s took it further by asking the athletes to waive all rights to litigation.

 “Forcing college athletes to sign away their rights or risk losing their scholarships in the middle of a pandemic is just the latest in a litany of unacceptable actions schools have taken to exploit these young people,” Blumenthal tweeted.

Related content: Returning SMU Athletes Must Sign Liability Waiver

CBS Sports acquired a draft of the College Athlete Pandemic Safety Act, which was introduced Tuesday — about a week after Blumenthal and Booker sent NCAA president Mark Emmert a letter expressing their concerns. The senators, who asked Emmert for a response by July 7, made four stipulations in their legislation. According to CBS Sports, those stipulations are:

  • An institution shall not allow any individual to agree to a waiver of liability regarding the coronavirus.
  • An institution shall not cancel a scholarship or financial aid for a player who refuses to participate because of concerns regarding the coronavirus.
  • An institution shall inform all athletes at the school when an athlete or staff member tests positive for COVID-19. The person who tests positive does not have to be identified.
  • An institution will make sure the athletic department adheres to COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.

A number of student-athletes across the country have tested positive since being allowed to return to campuses last month.

Blumenthal tweeted that the “College Athlete Pandemic Safety Act restores the rights schools have tried to strip away from college athletes & makes clear: their health & safety is a non-negotiable priority.”

Related content: Ohio State Had Football Players Sign Virus Risk Waiver

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