Sexual assault, unionization talks and updates on continuing stories

It’s busy in the news this morning, so let’s get started. First, two former Boise State University students filed a lawsuit against the school because “athletic officials ignored their reports of sexual assault and harassment by a star athlete.” Unfortunately, this article sounds much like Florida State University’s reaction to allegations against Jameis Winston, where there was little to no action on behalf of the police or the university. These examples continue to set unspeakable precedents – that as long as you’re an “important public figure” that protects politics and increases revenue, your reputation is protected, no matter the cost.

The lawsuit contains allegations that Boise State University officials displayed “deliberate indifference” to their plight, and that these officials ignored a “record of serially harassing and assaulting fellow students, and that the school’s failure to take action spurred the athlete to continue the behavior…at the time that the plaintiffs began attending BSU, J.W. Hardy, the head coach of the track and field team, as well as other members of the athletic department, had been provided with information demonstrating that the BSU perpetrator created a sexually hostile environment for females, and/or posed a risk of rape or sexual battery to females,” the women contend in the lawsuit.” Subsequently, the school fired the coach, but did not indicate why. 

Turning to Indiana, the NCAA is urging schools and universities to discuss openly reasons why unionization will create huge problems for student-athletes. The biggest issue is the likelihood that universities will cut scholarships and championships at institutions where collegiate athletes join unions. The article describes all of the issues with unionization, such as the “NCAA focusing on the student-athlete as a student,” discouraging students from thinking the only reason student-athletes attend higher education system is for money, and how Title IX is too complex to sustain such a pay-for-play system. Although the article doesn’t talk about it explicitly, unionization would likely create a situation where campuses that house athletes who are part of a union will cut their scholarships and possibly their sports programs, rendering the union useless. If you can’t protect a sport that does not exist, then there is no need to have an aegis – the aegis being unions for college athletes.

The NCAA still does not get it, and the article proves this point. The NCAA should encourage schools to step up and discuss this issue, and I am not opposed to that maneuver. What is missing from the article is how the NCAA plans to address the concerns and problems it acknowledges with the way in which they treat the student-athletes. The NCAA has yet to disseminate an appeasing political statement – something to the effect of this: “we are working hard to review the regulations to address the substantial problems with the infrastructure.” Furthermore, the NCAA has failed to ask for any feedback from any universities. The lack of an attempt to compromise suggests to me that the NCAA’s only goal is to defeat the unionization process and return to status quo without people noticing.

Although the NCAA cannot find a way to solve the unionization issue, it did vote on one important issue: student-athletes’ access to food. Apparently, a stipend of three meals a day simply is not enough anymore: “the Council decided that athletes, walk-ons and those on scholarship, can receive unlimited meals and snacks in conjunction with their athletics participation. Previously, student athletes received three meals a day or a food stipend.” The article mentions an anecdote of Shabazz Napier, a University of Connecticut basketball star who helped lead his team to win the NCAA tournament, often went to bed hungry because he could not afford to buy food. There are certain limitations to the rule, however. “The rule wasn’t intended to replace a regular student meal plan. In other words, a school couldn’t theoretically hire a five-star chef to cater three meals a day just to athletes. Schools can, however, still provide one training table meal per day during the academic year when regular school dining facilities are open. The cost of those training table meals are deducted from the an athlete’s board allowance.” I suppose tuition will experience another increase…but not for education.

In competition news, Eugene is in the running for hosting the IAAF World Championships in 2019, along with contenders Doha, Qatar, and Barcelona, Spain. Eugene is already hosting the IAAF World Junior Championships in July, and Portland is hosting the 2016 World IAAF Indoor Championships.

In continuing news, the Court of Arbitration for Sport issued a 58-page ruling, criticizing how the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission screwed up testing Veronica-Campbell Brown’s sample in exonerating her of all charges. One statement sums up the tone of the panel: “That systematic and knowing failure … is deplorable and gives rise to the most serious concerns about the overall integrity of the JAAA’s anti-doping processes.” In Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial, the prosecutor concluded his five-day cross-examination on Pistorius.

We’re still seeing some problems with Rio 2016. A couple days ago, a letter criticizing Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman became public. It was written by Eric Walther Maleson, “a Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympic bobsledder who was founding President of the Brazilian Ice Sports Federation from 1996 to 2012 and a Brazilian Olympic Committee (BOC) Board member between 1999 and 2012,” calls for the resignation of Nuzman. The letter severely criticizes Nuzman, and casts him as being “personally responsible for all the problems affecting the future host.” 

Finally, here’s an interesting article about the different diets of professional athletes.

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