WASHINGTON – Ahead of this weekend’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) March Madness Final Four games, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, noted growing support for his report, Madness Inc.: How Everyone is Getting Rich Off College Sports – Except the Players, released last week. In the report, Murphy examines how the NCAA enriches nearly every entity but the student-athletes themselves, and calls on the NCAA to compensate student-athletes.
Below is a roundup of support for Murphy’s report and his call to compensate student-athletes:
Ramogi Huma, Executive Director of the National College Players Association that represents more than 20,000 current and former college athletes: "Compensation restrictions imposed on college athletes are an affront to their economic and civil rights. College athletes generate billions for their programs, yet we've seen the NCAA punish players for receiving food when they were broke and hungry, for starting a small business, or receiving a few advertising bucks for posting videos on You Tube. College athletes shouldn't be sentenced to 2nd class citizenship, forced to forfeit their rights as a condition of participating in college athletics. It's un-American and immoral. That’s why college athletes support Senator Murphy's push for change 100%."
Trish Dalton and Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, who produced Student Athlete: "While filming with a number of college athletes over the course of two years, we saw first hand the often heartbreaking effects of highly competitive recruiting, unfair regulations, permanent physical injuries, unemployment, and struggles with depression over loss of identity when their athletic career ends with college. We found that a disproportionate number of the athletes in high revenue generating sports, men’s college football and basketball, came from families of color living below the poverty line. It became clear that the current collegiate sports system is predicated on exploitation, which is why we support and appreciate Senator Murphy’s bringing it into a national conversation."
Randy Edsall, head coach of the University of Connecticut football team, tweeted: “I agree with U.S. Senator @ChrisMurphyCT 100% that college athletes should be paid. Been saying it for a period of time that this should happen.”
Dr. Fritz Polite, president of The Drake Group, a Connecticut think tank dedicated to ending academic corruption in college sport: "Senator Murphy properly raises the issue of whether it is appropriate for tax-exempt institutions of higher education with commercially successful athletic programs to spend more on coaches' salaries than educational scholarships for athletes. Senator Murphy properly questions whether it is proper for these non-profit educational institutions to expend funds building "athletic palaces and amusement park amenities" in order to attract athletically talented teenagers. The Drake Group also agrees with the Senator's premise that these athletic programs are making a lot of money for coaches, athletic directors, broadcasters, corporate sponsors and apparel companies while not enough money is being used to benefit athletes, especially in the area of provision of comprehensive health care and insurance that deals with long term health consequences. To make matters worse, athletes themselves are unfairly restricted from making money on their own time by antiquated NCAA amateur status rules. Even if an athlete does not use his or her affiliation with the institution, these NCAA rules do not allow athletes to start their own sports camp businesses, earn fees for giving sports skill lessons, participate in commercial advertisements, endorse products or retain an agent to help them do any of these things. None of these activities involve playing for a professional sports team which should be the only disqualifying factor for participating in college athletics. We concur with Senator Murphy that college athletes deserve a better shake - a meaningful education, protection of their health and well-being and the freedom to explore employment opportunities just like non-athlete students. The Drake Group urges the Senator to continue to play a leadership role in developing a bipartisan Congressional effort to address these issues."
Darren Heitner, Founder of Heitner Legal and Author of How to Play the Game: What Every Sports Attorney Needs to Know: “I applaud the efforts of U.S. Senator Chris Murphy in helping bring to light the inequitable nature of college sports in 2019. Through his initial report, Senator Murphy lays the groundwork in explaining how college athletes are being exploited within a massive, and growing, profitable entity known as the NCAA. Through descriptive text and meaningful graphics, it paints a very sad picture for the college athlete, who gives up his or her body, time and personal life for commercial exploitation that enriches the NCAA, universities and coaches, but provides no immediate monetary benefit to the individual who is performing on a day-to-day basis. It has been time for change for quite some time, and hopefully Senator Murphy's reports help educate the masses on why it is not too late to properly compensate college players.”
Allen Slack, an emeritus professor at the University of New Haven, member of the board of directors of the Drake Group, and former player on Notre Dame’s 1966 national championship football team, in his op-ed in the Hartford Courant, “It’s time to fix college sports. Start by paying the players”: “As a long-time critic of the NCAA’s broken and exploitative model of big-time college sports — and a former college athlete — I applaud Sen. Chris Murphy’s “Madness, Inc.” series of reports, which will highlight a wide range of problems that plague big-time college sports…Only Congress has the resources to dig deeply into the problems that confront big-time college sports. I hope Sen. Murphy’s investigation of these issues will help to defend higher education in America from the corrosive aspects of big-time college sports.”