Lawmaker Calls on NCAA to Better Compensate College Athletes

NCPA Executive Director Ramogi Huma discusses academic and athlete compensation reform after moderating US Senator Chris Murphy's panel discussion on groundbreaking college athletes' rights report.

Morgan Wright
July 25, 2019
NCPA Executive Director Ramogi Huma Moderates US Senator Chris Murphy's Panel on NCAA Reform

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Earlier this year, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, released a report titled “Madness Inc: How Everyone is Getting Rich Off College Sports – Except the Players.”

He used the report to call on the NCAA to compensate student-athletes.

On Thursday, Murphy released his second “Madness Inc.” report which highlights how college athletics programs keep athletes on the field and out of the classroom, limiting their opportunity for a full college education.

“To me, this is a civil rights issue,” Murphy said. “To me, this is an issue of fairness.”

Murphy says student-athletes aren’t getting the education they deserve.

“The NCAA’s defense for why they don’t compensate students while all of the adults are getting rich is that the scholarship is good enough compensation,” he added.

But according to Murphy, college athletes are hardly even students.

“When you are spending much of your time traveling all over the country promoting the brand of your schools, doesn’t leave much time left for schoolwork,” Murphy said.

In a panel discussion, higher education officials and advocates for the players put a spotlight on how college athletes spend more time on the field instead of the classroom.

“I played in three games before I even saw a classroom as a true freshman,” Ramogi Huma said.

Huma, the president of the National College Players Association, knows first-hand the grind of being a college athlete and he says major reform is needed to stop the NCAA from devaluing education and valuing revenue.

The panel said one solution would be allowing college athletes to play their sport full-time and go to school part-time.

“That might mean scaling back some academics during the season, or extending the scholarships years after the eligibility is complete,” Huma added.

Panelist Mary Willingham said until this is fixed, college athletes will continue to get shortchanged.

“As long as we connect academic eligibility to athletic eligibility, there’s going to be fraud,” she said.

The panel says it’s the schools’ and the NCAA’s responsibility to make sure college athletes have an opportunity to get a full education.