U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy says the NCAA is not prioritizing the health of student-athletes. In a report released Monday, Murphy cited the governing body of college sports for failing on issues like football concussions, brain injury, and policing coaches who put athletes at risk.
“It is astounding that the NCAA hasn’t taken firmer steps to make sure that all of its members put the health of its athletes first,” Murphy said.
During a Monday news conference, Murphy said he hopes to call for federal legislation to address his concerns early next year. But he acknowledged that such a bill would be a “heavy lift.”
Still, Murphy said he has ideas for change: providing student-athletes with health care coverage and access to independent health care advisers, and guaranteed four-year scholarships for students recruited to play sports.
“The NCAA says that these are student-athletes. Well, the problem is, as soon as they stop being athletes, the colleges don’t let them be students any longer,” Murphy said.
The Monday report is the third that Murphy’s office has issued on college athletics. Other reports addressed money in college sports and how some colleges fail to provide student-athletes adequate education and compensation.
“It seems at the very least that there likely needs to be a minimum expectation of student compensation rights that is set by the federal government,” Murphy said.
The NCAA did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But in an email late Monday afternoon, Murphy’s office said the Connecticut Democrat and Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah will meet with NCAA president Mark Emmert Tuesday morning.