WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, on Monday released the following statement ahead of Tuesday’s HELP Committee hearing on college athlete compensation:
“At tomorrow's HELP Committee hearing on the future of college athletics, I plan to focus my questions on probing the injustice of treating college athletes like professionals in every respect except for compensation. Despite what colleges, athletic conferences, and the NCAA want people to believe, college athletes are often just students in name only. They put their health and safety on the line to generate billions of dollars in revenue, while being denied a seat at the table when the gargantuan profits are divided up. They’re denied meaningful academic experiences and real choice over their own educational opportunities in order to make sure they keep the profit-making machine of college athletics going,” said Murphy.
Murphy continued: “COVID-19 has made this distinction and disparate treatment between athletes and the overall student population abundantly clear—students have been kept off campus and in-person classes canceled while football players are expected to show up and play at all costs. These are all part of the broader set of structural inequities facing college athletes that I examined in my three Madness, Inc. reports, and I’m glad the HELP Committee—and Congress—is finally putting this issue front and center.”
Murphy has been an outspoken advocate on the issue of reforming college sports. In June, Murphy and Golden State Warriors player Draymond Green co-authored an op-ed for ESPN on how college sports must change following the COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide protests for racial justice. Last December, Murphy released his third and final report in a series of reports that considered the range of problems within college athletics. The report, “Madness, Inc.: How College Sports Leave Athletes Broken and Abandoned,” examines the ways in which colleges and the NCAA neglect athletes’ health and received praise from players and advocates across the college athletics community. Murphy’s first Madness, Inc. report examined the billions in revenues produced by college sports and how that money enriches nearly everyone but the athletes themselves. Coaches, former athletes, and advocates have spoken outin support of Murphy’s first report. second report examined the ways in which colleges fail in providing athletes the education they deserve. This report similarly received praise from coaches, former athletes and advocates. Murphy is also part of the College Athlete Bill of Rights, a landmark proposal that would guarantee fair and equitable compensation, enforceable safety standards, and improved education outcomes for all college athletes.