Protecting future, current, and former college athletes
The NCPA mission is to provide the means for college athletes to voice their concerns and change NCAA rules.
To protect future, current, and former college athletes.
The NCAA says it has no duty to protect college athletes and therefore does not enforce health and safety standards. The NCAA ruled that USA Gymnastics and Michigan State team doctor Larry Nassar's sexual assaults against athletes did not violate NCAA rules, and it would not punish a coach for knowingly returning a player with a concussion to the same game. If a player receives a few dollars for signing an autograph, the NCAA would investigate and punish that athlete. If the same athlete is sexually abused or dies in a hazardous workout, the NCAA looks the other way. The NCPA has sponsored legislation to establish a commission to do what the NCAA refuses to do – adopt and enforce critical safety mandates.
The NCAA does not require schools to cover sports-related injuries – it's optional. College athletes injured during sports-related workouts should not have to pay for medical expenses out of their own pockets.
The ultimate goal for a college athlete is not a scholarship, it's a degree. Federal graduation rates for Division I football and men's basketball players hover around 50%. The NCAA and its member colleges receive billions of dollars tax free because of their educational million. They should extend scholarship durations to ensure college athletes have adequate time to complete their degree.
Due to high athletic time demands, many athletes reporting an ability to choose the courses and major of their choice, and low graduation rates in football and basketball, athletic scholarships should be guaranteed for 6 years instead of the 1-year NCAA minimum. Additionally, sports should not be cut to pay for lavish coaching salaries and facilities.
Such actions reduce the chance for such college athletes to graduate. College athletes put their bodies and lives on the line in their pursuit of higher education and the success of their university's athletic program. It is immoral to allow a university to reduce or refuse to renew a college athlete's scholarship after sustaining an injury while playing for the university.
We have won unprecedented freedoms and reforms in this area, but overbearing restrictions still remain. College athletes should have the same economic and legal rights and freedoms guaranteed to other students and US citizens. Players are people not property.
It is an injustice to punish college athletes for actions that they did not commit i.e. suspending a team's post-season eligibility for the inappropriate actions of boosters. Such punishments have significant negative impacts on the short college experience of many college athletes. Alternative forms of punishment are available and should be utilized to allow an adequate policing of the rules.
Below is a timeline of some NCPA activities and accomplishments:
2001-2003: Raised health and safety issues during a Congressional hearing and circulated a player petition after the deaths of three football players and a paralyzed college football was denied home health care. The NCAA responded by lifting its prohibition of medical oversight of summer workouts, providing home health care benefits for seriously injured players, increasing death benefits from $10,000 to $25,000, and prohibiting consecutive two-a-day practices to help prevent deaths.
2003: NCPA-sponsored legislation backed by athlete testimony was approved by the California Senate and moved the NCAA to allow athletes to receive merit-based scholarships in addition to their athletic scholarship.
2005-2011: NCPA helped develop an antitrust lawsuit to end NCAA economic restrictions on college athletes. The settlement included the elimination of the NCAA’s ban on year-round comprehensive medical insurance, and created a 3-year $10 million fund to support former college athlete degree completion.
2009-2014: Assisted O'Bannon v. NCAA antitrust lawsuit that increased scholarship limits $3000-$5000/year to meet players’ living expenses while attending college. This unlocked approximately $100 million per year to support college athlete degree completion.
2010-2011: Developed model legislation to increase transparency and minimize deceptive recruiting practices. It became law in California and Connecticut.
2011-2013: Conducted joint studies with college faculty highlighting the disparity between profits generated by college athletes and gaps in athletes' academic and economic protections. Findings: over 80% of full scholarship athletes live below the federal poverty line, while NCAA rules deny players approx. $6 billion over four years.
2011-2012: Assisted the US Department of Justice investigation regarding the harmful impact of 1-year scholarships, which lead to the elimination of the NCAA’s scholarship duration limit. Today, many colleges throughout the United State regularly provide 4-5 year scholarships.
2012: Co-sponsored The Student-Athletes’ Bill of Rights, which was voted into California law and requires high-revenue athletic programs to provide scholarships for permanently injured athletes, sports-related medical coverage, and scholarships for degree completion.
2014: Helped develop and support passage of the city of Boston’s college athlete health and safety ordinance. Arranged the Jenkins v. NCAA antitrust lawsuit seeking injunctive relief from the NCAA's illegal cap on college athlete compensation (lawsuit was later combined with Alston .v NCAA).
2015: Assisted CNN investigation of player abuse across three sports at the University of Illinois, leading to the firing of the head football coach and athletic director.
2017-2018: Developed and launched the College Athlete Protection (CAP) Guarantee, a free, legally binding contract that empowers high school recruits and their parents to secure vital protections such as guaranteed medical expenses, scholarship assurance if permanently injured, multiyear scholarships, and funds for degree completion. Sponsored three bills and worked with college faculty to expand key health and safety, medical coverage, and degree completion benefits for college athletes that were approved by the California Assembly.
2018: Provided resources, analysis, and policy proposals to the North Carolina State Legislature that led to the introduction of state legislation seeking to provide physical, academic, and financial protections for college athletes.
2019: Co-sponsored the California Fair Pay to Play Act (SB 206), which will allow California college athletes the ability to secure professional and legal representation and receive compensation for use of their name, image, and likenes without being punished by their college, conference, or athletic association. This legislation was signed into law with 100% unanimous bipartisan support. Presented to the US Department of Justice Antitrust Division on various unjust and likely illegal NCAA policies and practices that harm college athletes.
2020: Served as the primary supporter of a college name, image, and likeness (NIL) compensation bill signed into Florida state law. Providing policy guidance and informational resources to state and federal lawmakers; and testified in the US Senate in support of legislation that would allow college athletes to receive compensation for use of their NIL. Assisting college athletes and their families with strategies to help address mistreatment, abuse, deceptive practices, and other injustices on their respective campuses. Continuing efforts to raise awareness and use of the CAP Guarantee among high school recruits and their parents. Launched the NCPA racial justice initiative to help foster civic engagement among college athletes who are using their voice to address racial injustice in college sports, on their campuses, and in policing.
2021: Assisted over a dozen states in adopting laws to allow college athlete representation and the ability to earn money for use of their NIL. NCPA basketball leaders Jordan Bohannon (Iowa), Geo Baker (Rutgers), and Isaiah Livers (Michigan) recruited other basketball players and launched the historic #NotNCAAProperty campaign during the NCAA Tournament to protest the NCAA's illegal prohibition on athlete representation and NIL pay. US Supreme Court ruled 9-0 in favor of the lawsuit that the NCPA arranged in 2014, opening the door for college athletes to receive approximately $6000 per year in educational-related compensation in addition to their athletic scholarship (Jenkins v. NCAA/Alston v. NCAA). This ruling, combined with 27 states that followed California's lead by adopting an NIL law, resulted in the NCAA abandoning its illegal prohibition on athlete representation and NIL compensation. Published the NCPA's Official NIL Ratings that scores each state's NIL law based on the degree to which freedoms and rights are guaranteed to athletes in each state.
2022: Filed unfair labor practice complaints with the National Labor Relations Board against UCLA, USC, the Pac-12, and the NCAA to establish employee status for NCAA DI football, men's basketball, and women's basketball players nationwide. Filed a civil rights complaint with the US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights against NCAA DI colleges for collectively imposing an athlete compensation limit that violates civil rights law by creating a disparate (disproportional) impact on Black students. Sponsored a California bill that would ensure college athletes receive fair market compensation, create Title IX enforcement at the state level, and preserve all sports. Worked with several states to improve their NIL laws.