With Former athletes suing the NCAA and Northwestern players exploring labor options, it is open season on taking on the hypocrisy of the NCAA. Now Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim wants to impose a “College Athlete Bill of Rights" on NCAA athletes that play within the city limits of Boston. His laws would apply to all schools but would have the biggest impact on BC since we host some of the most high-profile college teams in the country due to the ACC schedules. While I am for paying athletes and potentially disbanding the NCAA, I don't have much faith in Zakim's intentions or his motivation.
The issues that he's attacking are not really relevant to the current situation. Most athletes have plenty of time to graduate. A fifth year for players who don't work out on the field, is a small, small issue. Medically most of these guys are essentially covered year round. The head trauma debate is relevant, but I would say the NCAA and the teams in Boston are relatively ahead of the game. BC has been granting full medical waivers to head injury victims for two decades (think of Jim Unis). Why isn't Zakim mandating head injury policies for Massachusetts High School sports, the NHL, MLS, and NFL?
I don't mind attacking the system. But the real issue isn't health. It isn't safety. It's money. When Zakim figures out a way to mandate payment for players, then he will have my attention. Right now he just feels like someone trying to make a name for himself.
BC has a lot at risk in this process, but I predict these laws are a long way from being passed and then enforced.