Ralph Nader calls for ending athletic scholarships

Consumer advocate would 'de-professionalize' athletes

March 25, 2011|By From staff and news services

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader is calling for the elimination of college athletic scholarships, saying the move is necessary to "de-professionalize" college athletes.

"As we near the exciting conclusion of 'March Madness' — which would more accurately be described as the 2011 NCAA Professional Basketball Championships — it's time we step back and finally address the myth of amateurism surrounding big-time college football and basketball in this country," said Nader, whose League of Fans is proposing that the scholarships be replaced with need-based financial aid. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the proposal Thursday, ahead of its official release.

NCAA spokesman Bob Williams said referring to college athletes as professionals defies logic.

"They are students, just like any other student on campus who receives a merit-based scholarship," he said.

Nader, a former presidential candidate, said his plan also would help reduce the "win-at-all-costs" mentality in high schools, by reducing the incentive of college scholarships.

"An entire industry has developed in the youth sports arena — club teams, personal trainers, etc. — to prey on families' dreams of an athletic scholarship," he said. "The lure of the elusive athletic scholarship is the primary — sometimes the only — marketing tool these youth sports entrepreneurs use."

He said he would try to gin up support for his proposal from university presidents, on Capitol Hill and in the Education Department.

FOOTBALL: Navy released its projected football schedules for 2012 and 2013.

The Midshipmen will open the 2012 season against Notre Dame on Sept.1 at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, then will be off for a week before traveling to State College to take on Penn State on Sept. 15. It will be Navy's first game against the Nittany Lions since 1974.

Home games will be Sept. 22 vs. Virginia Military Institute, Sept. 29 vs. San Jose State, Oct.20 vs. Indiana, Nov. 3 vs. Florida Atlantic and Nov. 17 vs. Texas State.

The Mids will open 2013 on Sept. 7 at Indiana. Home games will be Sept. 14 vs. Delaware, Oct.5 vs. Air Force, Oct.26 vs. Pittsburgh, Nov. 9 vs. Hawaii and Nov. 16 vs. South Alabama.

Women's swimming: Johns Hopkins broke two school relay records on the second day of the NCAA Division III championships in Knoxville, Tenn. The Blue Jays are in eighth place overall.

Hopkins won the 200 freestyle relay consolation final to finish in ninth overall. Freshmen Sarah Rinsma, Taylor Kitayama and Kylie Ternes and junior Elizabeth Rogers swam the relay in 1 minute, 35.22 seconds, breaking the school record they had set at the Bluegrass Mountain Conference championship.

The Blue Jays also won the 400medley relay consolation final. Kitayama, junior Annie Tsay, Rinsma and Rogers finished in 3:49.19 to win by more than two seconds.

Women's basketball: Bowie State announced that Donna Polk will become associate athletic director for compliance on a full-time basis, relinquishing coaching responsibilities. Assistant coach Renard Smith has been appointed interim head coach.

"The change had nothing to do with wins and losses, but we simply needed more help administratively," athletic director Anton Goff said.

Polk was 55-29 in three seasons as the Bulldogs' coach.

Men's indoor track and field: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute thrower Ja'Mar Watson (Glenelg) was named Liberty League Field Performer of the Year.

Watson, a senior, won the weight throw five times and the shot put twice.

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