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March 17, 2014 - Big-time college sports hurting academic mission

The Miami Herald’s report of the Knight Commission’s March 17, 2014 meeting in Miami highlighted the discussion around a growing “imbalance between academics and sports.”

The article cites findings from the Knight Commission’s Athletic and Academic Spending Database for Division I:  “College spending per football player skyrocketed 70 percent compared with only a 6 percent increase in spending per student, with the Southeastern Conference lavishing a nation-high $262,468 on each player.”

The article also reports on testimony about the treatment of athletes:

"Athletes’ rights deserve more emphasis, said Ramogi Huma, president of the National College Players Association. He is assisting Northwestern football players in their effort to form a union. He advocated payments for living expenses; more attention to concussion prevention; and freedom for athletes to be paid for appearances and product endorsements.

"Paul Tagliabue, former NFL commissioner and chair of the board at Georgetown, his alma mater, echoed other attendees in his opposition to athlete salaries, but said the college sports model is in need of ‘transformative change, not incremental change.

"'First of all, the NCAA should be the NCAAA — the National Collegiate Athletic and Academic Association,' he said."

The article highlights some of the good news reported at the meeting: “Improved graduation rates are a Knight Commission success story, as Walter Harrison, University of Hartford president and chair of the NCAA’s Academic Performance committee, cited an 82 percent rate among Division I athletes; an increase to 73 percent from 56 percent among mens’ basketball players, and an increase to 67 percent from 56 percent among black athletes.”

Read more HERE.