Rep. John Katko (R-NY24) has been searching for a greater transparency from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and has been trying to support efforts in Congress to support the health, safety and welfare of college student athletes.
This effort comes in the wake of the sanctions placed on Syracuse University following the NCAA’s eight-year investigation into academic and drug policy violations by the college’s men’s basketball program.
“The NCAA is given tremendous power by its member organizations while being subject to minimal oversight,” Katko said. “While I do not doubt the NCAA’s desire to promote high standards among its members, its recent eight-year investigation of Syracuse University Athletics leaves as many questions as it does answers. It’s time for Congress to take action to demand greater accountability from the NCAA.”
The sanctions placed on SU include stripping SU of 12 scholarships and 108 victories.
The NCAA is the largest collegiate athletic association in the United States with over 1,000 colleges and universities and over 430,000 student-athletes participating in the Association. It generates nearly $800 million in revenue each year.
Susan Viscomi, the athletic director of Oswego State, acknowledged that Oswego State is a Div. III school whereas SU is a Div. I. While she had no comment on the current situation with SU, she expressed she believes that Div. III colleges focus on student athletic protection.
“Div. III is very student-athlete centered with the emphasis appropriately placed on the student part of that equation,” Viscomi said. “That is the philosophy I fully subscribe to and support here at Oswego State.
Katko has pledged to support legislative initiatives to improve the health and education of student athletes and require greater accountability from the NCAA, including the NCAA Act, legislation introduced in a previous Congress aimed at providing greater protections for student athletes and schools by reforming the arbitrary enforcement processes utilized by the NCAA.
“We need to reform the NCAA’s capricious arbitration procedures,” Katko concluded. “The University, many innocent and future student-athletes and support staff were severely damaged by this decision and I stand ready to support them.”
Following Katko’s push for transparency, Katko announced last Wednesday that he has called upon NCAA President Mark Emmert to reconsider the sanctions imposed on Syracuse University. In a letter sent earlier this week, Rep. Katko decried the loss of student scholarships and noted the importance of Syracuse University’s program to the Central New York economy.
“While I understand and agree that Syracuse University must take responsibility for any misconduct, the sanctions imposed by the NCAA do the most harm to students,” the congressman said. “By barring opportunities for future student-athletes to receive a college degree, the NCAA directly contradicts its goal of promoting higher education opportunities for all students.”
Katko encouraged the NCAA to reconsider its decision, noting that the arbitrary decision-making processes implemented by the organization remain unexplained in this instance. He expressed serious concern that the NCAA standards are not applied uniformly nationwide.
“Congress plays an important role in the oversight of higher education, and I share the NCAA’s goal of preventing the recurrence of events that led to the imposition of sanctions on Syracuse University,” concluded Katko. “But these harsh sanctions only harm innocent student-athletes and demean an incredibly loyal and successful coach.”