For my social movements class, we were assigned a mini-campaign project to develop a social movement campaign to start changes in a specific venue of culture. I chose the topic of NCAA/Collegiate sports reform. Here is why:
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has become, in the past 35 years or more, an organization that is heavily criticized in their practices by media members and the very persons that they are supposed to serve, the student-athlete (S-A). It begins with the foundation of the organization itself. The foundational issues coincide with the NCAA’s rules, regulations and how those rules are enforced; the NCAA has been called upon many times to reform itself. Now so more than ever, the NCAA must create and enforce changes in the social dynamic that is has placed on itself. To many, the relationship between the NCAA, large academic institutions, and the minority student athletes that thrive in their “glamour sports” (football, basketball, and baseball) creates a master-slave dynamic that hinders the growth and development of the S-A. This dynamic is over-bearing and leaves S-A’s to go into their lives post undergraduate careers not prepared to live successful lives without the dream that athletic pursuits may not be an option. Racism and lack of opportunity for these young men and women who give a commitment to an academic institution, but whose first priority is to athletic associations that are more often than not in any way connected to the universities to which the student attends, it is my position that reform is needed in the NCAA. Billy Hawkins Ph.D., the author of the book The New Plantation: The Internal Colonization of Black Student Athletes states, “The main interests of the NCAA and its member institutions regarding intercollegiate athletics are power and money”.
The proposal is as follow: To stop the unfair treatment of all student-athletes, the NCAA but enhance the scholarships it allots to include allowances to the students that compete for them. Proper marketing and education to those students who need to care for themselves, their families, and their futures is what leads the NCAA to into their archaic bag of tricks and hand down rulings to S-A’s who would otherwise not be under an investigative microscope. The NCAA has a great deal of reform to accomplish, but how it deals with its student-athletes is the initial task.
Essentially, my plan is this: The NCAA should begin giving student-athletes a fair chance at succeeding in life after their times as collegiate athletes and the NCAA should change their rules and how they conduct rulings and stop being focused about how they can use these athletes for monetary gain. My complete paper and other ideas will be finished and posted later tonight in a special tab called “NCAA REFORM” on my blog. I will be tweeting and sharing this link all over the blog, so make sure you all share this with yout friends and send me feedback of ideas and what you all think is wrong with the NCAA.
Here is my rally plan to start the social movement in NCAA REFORM:
1. Social Media Campaign: We take to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, and to sports blogs where this is a hot topic, and share our feelings. Once we create a forum for discussion, we plan a summit where athletes, media members, and fans of collegiate sports can come together and create more ideas to aid the reform movement. Social media being a huge part of how we inform, entertain, and create news and create reform and movements in todays’ society, this tool would best reach students and student-athletes, and modern media persons who work in news and sports broadcasting. It would also quickly spread the word once people attach themselves to the proposed ideas.
2. Say It Loud by Asking: Polling the student-athletes as to what they find as major issues as it pertains to this topic is essential to aiding what we need to change. Discover and discuss what they would like to see in the future of the NCAA rulings and athletic associations via interviews, surveys, et cetera, and pool the data and develop rhetoric from there. This would provide a first- hand account of those who we are trying to help. This could get the student-athlete to open up in more detail and more intimately about their needs, desires, and reforms they would find beneficial to their present states and
3. The Minority Student-Athlete Summit: Hawkins suggests the creation of a minority student-athletic association specifically targeted to academic outreach to the minority student athlete. First, before this is began, a Minority Student Athlete Summit would be ideal in reaching student-athletes past and present, those students who found prominence in professional sports and what (if anything) has hindered them post-professional careers. This would lend multiple voices to the cause of minority involvement as it pertains to NCAA reform, and promote a civil discourse. Involved in the summit, besides the student-athletes and media members, but coaches, athletic directors, and members of the NCAA, primarily the NCAA president.
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