Athlete Health, Safety, & Abuse

June 21, 2019

The NCAA says it has no duty to protect college athletes, does not enforce health and safety standards (including concussion protocols), and will not punish a coach who knowingly requires players with concussions to return to the same game.  The lack of accountability to implement best practices too often leads to negligent, hazardous workouts that seriously harms or kills players.

In addition, the NCAA does not prohibit the physical or sexual abuse of college athletes.  The NCAA ruled in 2018 Michigan State team doctor Larry Nassar’s sexual assaults against Michigan State gymnasts and the college’s failure to address the victims’ complaints did not violate NCAA rules.

The NCAA will punish a player for receiving a free lunch but will not investigate if that player dies in a hazardous workout or is sexually assaulted?

The Team Physician Consensus Statement (published jointly by 6 medical associations) states in part that those with professional/personal gain can compromise the well-being of college athletes.  Surveys demonstrate that such negligence and mistreatment is rampant in NCAA sports.

The National Athletic Trainer’s Association’s survey revealed 50% of trainers pressured are by coaches to return players with concussions to the same game.  In addition, an NCAA study found that 50% of athletic trainers admit to returning players with concussions to same game.

The Solution

Create a program independent from the colleges, conferences, and athletic associations that can be adopted by governments on the local, state, and/or federal levels with the following provisions:

  • Maintain a panel of experts to identify and enforce standards to prevent serious injury, death, and abuse among college athletes
  • Designate athletic personnel as mandated reporters
  • Ensure protections for athletes and personnell reporting suspected violations
  • Inform athletes of their rights

Download the NCPA's "College Athlete Protection Act" model legislation for more details (hyperlink to download)