Many college sports coaches, and not just in the “big sports” of football and basketball, have a win-at-any-costs mindset that puts players at risk.
In today’s Martin Center article, Jay Allred, a golf enthusiast and father of a student who now has a chronic back problem due to her golf coach’s irresponsibility, writes about that problem.
In his daughter’s case, she had hurt her back and a doctor had advised against playing.
Yet, on the same day she was given that diagnosis,her golf coach sent her an email stating that she was cleared to return to play and was expected at every practice in the spring. She played in the spring as demanded, but in excruciating pain. Her coach brushed off her pain, claiming that ‘it is her mind and her will,’ as he wrote in an email.
Subsequently the Allreds filed a complaint against the school (East Carolina), but were stonewalled.
This is not a unique case. “Unfortunately, this lack of accountability and transparency isn’t unique to ECU. Currently, no University of North Carolina system school has an athlete’s bill of rights or a coach’s code of conduct,” Allred writes. But there is some good news. The North Carolina General Assembly has taken note of the problem of student athletes suffering at the hands of their coaches and created a commission, which has just issued its report. If adopted, the report’s recommendations for creating the University Student Athlete Protection Commission (USAPC) would go a long way toward solving the problem.
The bad news is that the UNC system has fought off similar studies and recommendations in the past.
College athletics is anything but the highlight reels on ESPN. Many young people develop physical and mental injuries they are stuck with for the rest of their lives. But, with the USAPC, North Carolina could become a leader in reform by taking student-athlete safety seriously and establishing rules to protect them.