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Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Examine State of Intercollegiate Athletics

Two lawmakers have introduced a new bipartisan bill that would examine the state of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and athletic programs participating in intercollegiate sports.

On Thursday, Representatives Donna Shalala (D-FL) and Ross Spano (R-FL) came up with the Congressional Advisory Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics (CACIA) Act that would create a Congressional Commission to fully review, analyze and report on the NCAA and intercollegiate athletics back to Congress.

Shalala who herself has served as the president of Hunter College, the University of Miami and as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison said that higher education institutions over $130 billion in federal student support must be held accountable.

“College sports, as overseen by the NCAA, have undergone a massive transformation in recent years. As profits, compensation for coaches, and spending on luxurious athletic facilities have ballooned, the association has repeatedly failed to address systemic problems with respect to the health and well-being of student athletes,” Shalala said.

“The demands of year-round training, sacrificing study time and sleep to clock more hours at the gym, and pushing through exhaustion have taken a toll athletes’ physical and mental health,” she added.

The new bill allows the commission to examine the interaction between athletics and academics, the financing of college sports, recruitment policies and retention practices for student-athletes while at the same time analyzing the NCAA’s policies on institutional oversight and governance, compensation, the health and safety protections for college athletes, due process and equal enforcement of rules.

“There is little oversight, and as a result, we have little insight into how the funding is being spent and if the students’ best interests are being prioritized. This commission would fill that gap,” Rep. Sapno added.

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