I. Executive SummaryThe following policybrief examines the time constraints placed on student-athletes in highereducation. The dilemma between “student” and “athlete is most prevalent infootball and men’s basketball, the two revenue-generating sports, along withwomen’s basketball, baseball and softball.
The policy problem isstudent-athletes have extreme time demands that hinder their holisticdevelopment. Moreover, student-athletes are forced to make decisions they don’tnecessarily agree with. The policy recommendation would be a 1 summer sessiondead period where no athletically countable activities could occur.II. BackgroundThe purpose of athletics in college is to enrich thelearning experience of students. Around 1840, one of the first college athleticevents that took place was a highbrow regatta between and Harvard and YaleUniversities.
From the very beginning the commercialization of collegeathletics was seen as a major issue. By the end of the 19th centuryPresident Eliot at Harvard and President walker of the Massachusetts Instituteof Technology were already voicing their concerns about college athletics.President Eliot stated that “lofty gate receipts from college athletics hadturned amateur contests into major commercial spectacles.” Moreover, PresidentWalker stated that “if the movement shall continue at the same rate, it willsoon be fairly a question whether the letters B.A.
stand more for Bachelor ofArts or Bachelor of Athletics.” During the late 19th century andearly 20th century there was a shift from student control to facultyoversight and some conference regulation. However, college athletics remainedunder-regulated. The year 1905 saw over eighteen deaths and one hundred majorinjuries in college football. Henceforth, this caught the attention ofPresident Roosevelt and he called for reform. President Roosevelt invitedofficials from the major football programs to participate. 6 Deaths andinjuries in football persisted, however, and Chancellor Henry MacCracken of NewYork University called for a national meeting of representatives of thenation’s major intercollegiate football programs to determine whether footballcould be regulated or had to be abolished at the intercollegiate level. 7Representatives of many major intercollegiate football programs acceptedChancellor MacCracken’s invitation and ultimately formed a Rules Committee.
PresidentRoosevelt then sought to have participants in the White House conference meet withthe new Rules Committee. This combined effort on the part of educators and theWhite House eventually led to a concerted effort to reform intercollegiatefootball rules, resulting in the formation of the Intercollegiate AthleticAssociation (hereinafter IAA), with sixty-two original members. In 1910, theIAA was renamed the NCAA.21 Initially, the NCAA was formed to formulate rulesthat could be applied to the various intercollegiate sports.After World War II, there was a rapid rise in the numberof students attending institutions of higher education. This, along withgrowing influence of television and radio, were major factors in thecommercialization of college athletics. Some of the first televised events inthe 1950s were college athletic competitions (Smith, 2000). Since 1991, theNCAA implemented a 20-hour that limits the amount of athletic participation fora student-athlete.
The purpose of this rule was to restrict the amount ofathletic participation of a student athlete to ensure their amateur status andto ensure that student-athletes receive a quality academic experience (Ayers,Pazmino-Cevallos & Dobose, 2012). Now, the NCAA serves more than 480,000student-athletes. Moreover, there are 130 institutions of higher educationcompete in the top Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. However, to contrarybelieve, only 24 out of these 130 institutions generated revenue in the 2015fiscal year (Burnsed, 2015). III. Identification of PolicyProblemThe issue is the unreasonable time constraints put onstudent-athletes.
The current policies in place enrich the college experienceof traditional students at the expense of student-athletes. These timeconstraints impede the holistic development of student-athletes in various ways.During school, many student-athletes are forced to pursue easier majors. Thisis a factor that leads to the phenomenon of “Academic Clustering” (Schneider,Ross, & Fisher, 2010).
More importantly, these majors may not interest thestudent-athletes, which causes apathy in their studies. Another consequence oftime constraints on student-athletes are the lack of internship andstudy-abroad opportunities. For many student-athletes, college is the end oftheir athletic pursuits (see Appendix A). Moreover, the previous statisticsdon’t take into account the athletes whom earn a substantial living. Therefore,ensuring these student athletes receive a quality education is of the utmostimportance.
After school, former student-athletes have a harder timetransitioning compared to their peers. Especially, when they lack a strongeducational background and/or career/personal development (Park, Lavallee,& Tod, 2012). Moreover, student-athletes typically don’t participate inevents such as study abroad and internships. Since 1991, the NCAA implemented a20-hour that limits the amount of athletic participation for a student-athlete.According to NCAA Bylaw’s 184.108.40.206 and 17.
1.5.1, “countable athleticallyrelated activities may occur no more than 20 hours per week with a maximum offour hours per day when a student-athlete’s sports is in-season. An exceptionto the four-hour maximum exists for golf, but the 20-hour total remains.Out-of-season total countable athletically-related activities may occur no morethan eight hours per week. No maximum athletically-related activities can occuroutside of an academic semester” (Ayers et al., 2017).
Countable athletic hours”include those at the direction of, or supervised by, one or more coaches. Someexamples of countable hours include: practices; games; required and/orsupervised training and conditioning for reasons other than safety;coaches-initiated meetings; required camps or clinics; setting up offensive ordefensive assignments; and required film reviewing” (Ayers et al., 2017).Examples of activities that don’t count towards the 20-hour rule includecompliance meetings; required study halls; traveling to and from competitions;training room activities; drug educational meetings; and fundraising andcommunity service projects. Any voluntary athletic-related activity in which astudent-athlete participates and which is not required or supervised by coachesor is not reported back to anyone on the coaching staff is also not countedagainst totals. These omissions to the rule could include strength and conditioningas well as athletic skill work. However, a study by Kevin Ayers, MonicaPazmino-Cevallos and Cody Dobose concluded that student-athletes reportedon-average participating in 31.
25 hours of in-season athletic activities and9.87 hours of off-season athletic activities. Both numbers which are over theNCAA 20-hour rule limit. On top of these athletic time constraintsstudent-athletes reported on-average 16.75 hours of academic activitiesin-season and 14.25 athletic activities off-season (See Appendix B).
Accordingto the NCAA “40 percent of required coursework for a degree must be complete bythe end of the second year, 60 percent by the end of the third year and 80percent by the end of their fourth year. All Division I student-athletes mustearn at least six credit hours each term to be eligible for the following termand must meet minimum grade-point average requirements related to the school’sGPA standards for graduation.” (NCAA, n.d.) However, the following policy only benefitsmen’s basketball one-and-done prospects.
Therefore, the 6 credit hours policyis only applicable to a miniscule number of student-athletes. Furthermore, theNCAA requires that every academic year (fall and spring semesters only) astudent must pass 18 degree applicable hours (ASPSA, 2017) Most schools requirearound 130 credit hours upon the certification of an undergraduate Bachelor’sdegree. This means that roughly 52 credit hours have to be completed within 4semesters (not counting summer school). Furthermore, athletes would need totake 13 credit hours each semester just to stay eligible for their 3rdyear of competition. Consequentially, many student-athletes have to take 12 to15 credit hours in-season to stay on track to graduate in 4 years. Lastly, morethan eight out of 10 student-athletes will earn a bachelor’s degree, and morethan 35 percent will earn a postgraduate degree (NCAA, n.d.
). Therefore, itshould be of the utmost importance for student-athletes to gain a qualityeducation. IV. Discussion and KeyPolicy AnalysisThe first policy recommendation for this policy briefis revisiting the 20-hour rule.
The fact that student-athletes report spending31.25 hours on athletic activities in-season is ludicrous. Especially, whenmost of these student athletes are enrolled in 12-15 credit hours in-season (SeeAppendix C). However, should the 20-hour rule be strictly enforced or beexpanded to encompass both athletic and non-athletic activities? If the 20-hourrule is more strictly enforced, it will cause for more negative consequencesthan positive ones. A stricter enforcement of the 20-hour rule would lead toless athletic demands. Therefore, student-athletes would have more time tofocus on their grades and better retention rates (Scott, Paskus, Miranda, Petr,& McArdle, 2008). However, this would lead to a worst quality of sport.
This would lead to the NCAA and member institutions losing money because of alack of public interest. Moreover, if the rules were more strictly enforced,the NCAA would need to have more compliance officers. Then this brings up thequestion of who pays these officers and how many officers does each schoolhave? If the NCAA pays for these officers then they end up losing money. Ifmember institutions pay for these officers then tuition prices for studentswould increase. Also, is it 1 compliance officer per sport or 1 complianceofficer per X number of student-athletes? If the 20-hour rule was expanded toaccount for both athletic and non-athletic activities then the rule wouldn’talleviate the time constraints placed on athletes. However, it would justencompass the already pre-existing inequalities.
The next policy solution would allow forstudent-athletes to course underload, take fewer than 12 credit hours, duringtheir competition phase. According to the journal article In-Season vs. Out-of-Season Academic Performance of CollegeStudent-Athletes, there is a correlation between greater academicperformance of student-athletes during the off-season and a lower academicperformance in-season (See Appendix D).
This will decrease the time constraintsof student-athletes during their most stressful time of year. Consequently,this will lead to a higher retention rate among student-athletes. However, thismeans that student-athletes would have to make up that time during summerschool sessions. Moreover, many student-athletes already take classes for atleast one semester of summer school. Having student-athletes course underloadduring their competition phase would mean that most student-athletes would haveto attend both summer school sessions This means that student-athletes wouldstill not have access to summer internship opportunities and/or study abroad opportunities.Even though this policy addresses the time constraints of student-athletesduring the academic year, it doesn’t aid in the holistic development ofstudent-athletes. The last policy option would be for a dead period for1 summer school session.
This dead period would entail no athletically-relatedactivities and would not require students to be on campus. The dead period forevery sport will be the 1st session of summer school. This policygives student-athletes the option to stay on-campus and take more classes, takeonline courses from home, work a summer internship, and/or study abroad duringthe dead period. Moreover, student will still be able to complete the academicrequirements of the NCAA. Student-athletes could course underload theircompetition phase and make up those missed credit hours in their out-of-seasonsemester and during their 1 summer school session. Moreover, if they reallyneeded to the athletes could spend their dead period catching up on classes.The only negative of this policy is it will take some practice times away fromteams. However, this comes at the expense of holistically developing the student-athlete.
V. Recommendations andConclusionThe best policyrecommendation would be the 1 summer semester dead period. This will be thebest policy option because it gives autonomy back to the student athletes. Moreover,this policy option has more advantages than disadvantages. To a certain extent,there’s only so much that can be done to eliminate the time demands ofstudent-athletes. However, the 1 summer session dead period allows students totake courses (at school or online), study-abroad, have summer internshipsand/or craft their game. Moreover, student-athletes will be able to courseunderload while they’re in-season. Consequently, this will lead to highergrades and better retention rates among student-athletes.
If need bestudent-athletes could take courses over the summer to make up for course under-loading.This is true because the student-athletes would be required to attend at leaston session of summer school. College is a time for young adults to explore andfind what they are passionate about. The recommended policy option accomplishesthis goal by giving power back to the athletes.VI.
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