College Athletes Rights and Empowerment Faculty Coalition

I joined the College Athletes Rights and Empowerment Faculty Coalition (CARE-FC) last year.  It’s a relatively new group that is still growing.  I joined because some of the people involved are faculty who have done extensive and influential research on the subject of intercollegiate athletics, from a variety of disciplines, that has led them to make supporting college athletes rights a priority.

I think about it this way.  Who has skin in the game of intercollegiate athletics? Who are the stakeholders, as the bureaucrats put it?

Internal to Academic Institutions

Athletes

Coaches and their support staff (trainers, assistants, etc.)

Athletic Department Administrators and Staff

College and University Central Administrators

College and University Faculty

Other students

External to Academic Institutions

College and University Alumni

Parents

Fans

Journalists

External administrative organizations (e.g. , athletic conferences, the NCAA)

Media conglomerates

Athletic equipment manufacturing corporations

Other corporate advertisers

From my point of view, when in conflict, the interests of the stakeholders external to our academic institutions should be subordinated to those inside those institutions.

Then, if I were to rank the stakeholders internal to academic institutions according to how well it seems to me that they’re interests are protected and how strong their voice is, it would look something like this:

Athletic Department Administrators and Staff

College and University Central Administrators

Coaches (depending on the sport, they might be ranked higher or lower than faculty) and College and University Faculty

Athletes and Other students

I’m sure this varies from place to place, and perhaps I don’t have it right.  My point, however, is to convey my impression that athlete’s rights are under protected and under advocated-for relative to others with a stake in intercollegiate athletics. This is why I was happy to see the formation of CARE-FC, whose explicit purpose is to address this imbalance, as they assert in the self-description I’ve pasted in below, which is taken from their website:

College Athletes Rights and Empowerment Faculty Coalition (CARE-FC) is a national coalition of faculty concerned with the academic and economic mistreatment of college athletes in the profit sports of football and basketball. The mission of CARE-FC is to support college athletes in their quest to fundamentally change the existing college sport industry by recognizing they are employees who deserve protections afforded such status.

CARE-FC asserts the path to the transformation of college sport rests with the athletes themselves, and that the athletes have the capacity to lead the enterprise into the 21st century in a way that is stronger and more viable than ever. Such a model would be absent the hypocrisies unworthy of the higher educational institutions that serve as the promoters and sponsors of the multi-billion dollar college sport entertainment industry in which profit-athletes work.

 

CARE-FC will work with college football and basketball players who seek relief from the fraudulent business practices used by college sport organizations, which rob them of basic civil rights to be compensated for their labor, work in a safe environment, be protected when injuries beset them as a result of the work they do, and be treated with human dignity.

 

CARE-FC is targeting its efforts in four areas:

  • Developing relationships with the National College Players Association, the College Athlete Players Association, player unions and associations and other like-minded entities, and concerned faculty;
  • Educating public policy makers and legislators about the realities of exploitative practices of the current college sport industry;
  • Creating awareness around the disproportionate negative impact that college sport business practices have on college athletes in the racial minority; and,
  • Opposing efforts which seek to allow college sport entities to be “reformed” in ways that do not result in justice and fairness for athletes whose labor generates revenue for their institutions, the NCAA, conferences, and the corporations that invest in college sport.