Antler Express

The NCAA Has Stopped Caring About Athletes

The NCAA has become increasingly negligent in regards to student athletes in cases of coaching abuse and misconduct.

9 September 2006: Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson works with his players before the start of the Sooners'  37-20 victory over the Washington Huskies at Owen Field in Norman, OK.

Billy Adams/Icon SMI

9 September 2006: Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson works with his players before the start of the Sooners' 37-20 victory over the Washington Huskies at Owen Field in Norman, OK.

Veronica Rohlfing, Reporter

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In 1906, the NCAA was founded to protect athletes from abusive practices. Now, it claims no such responsibility, legally or morally. In the past, the NCAA has been caught ignoring serious cases of athletes being abused by their coaches during practices. When a coach is caught, the NCAA has a tendency to be lenient, and often coaches can get away with horrible practices.

Countless athletes have been hurt during a practice, many of their injuries were a result of negligent coaches. Sometimes, this negligence can lead to fatalities. According to Forbes, Derek Sheely died as a result of a drill during a football practice, the Oklahoma Drill, that is so dangerous that it has been banned in most colleges. The NCAA refused to investigate his death.

In the NCAA’s defense, it’s hard to enforce rules that don’t exist. They have established few rules that apply outside of competitions. For example, cursing is prohibited during games, but there are no rules that apply to practices. The same applies for abusing athletes. During a game, a slap on the back or helmet could be seen as congratulatory, but there is no line that defines when a coach hitting their player turns into misconduct.

Gary Namie, a former psychology and management professor, compares the relationship between coaches and players to that of a boss to unpaid interns. Interns have no labor laws to protect them, and neither do NCAA athletes. In cases of misconduct, often the college will punish the coach, but the NCAA will not. For example, Indiana fired Kevin Wilson, who forced his players to play with injuries on multiple occasions.

The NCAA is by no means an innocent organization. Over the years, they have been hammered with allegations and convictions of corruption within. In order to remain a reputable organization and keep the trust of the majority, the NCAA would naturally resort to covering up as much scandal as they can. Because it is in the best interest of local outlets to remain in their town’s good graces, they are unlikely to report on abuse. Writing an article that criticizes potentially abusive practices would not only anger the coach but also the fans of the team. Major scandals are broken by national outlets, such as ESPN or the Associated Press.

Today’s college athletes have few to turn to if they are being abused by their coach. Local media will not want to cover it, their college will be hesitant to lose funding from their coaches, and the NCAA has a dirty track record for covering up such scandals.Abuse can happen no matter your school’s athletic rankings. If you are considering playing a college sport, I highly recommend speaking with the athletes on the team before joining. Abuse can happen no matter your school’s athletic rankings.

About the Writer
Veronica Rohlfing, Reporter

Veronica is a sophomore and a first-year reporter at the Antler Express.

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