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Politics

Al Lawson Calls for Congressional Select Committee on Student-Athletes

October 22, 2019 - 7:00am
Al Lawson
Al Lawson

Now in his second term, U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, D-Fla., continues to concentrate on college student athletes, calling for a new congressional body to “focus on the well-being and rights of our nation’s student-athletes.”

Lawson, who lettered in basketball and ran track during his undergrauate career at Florida A&M University, called on U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to create a Select Committee on Student-Athletes.

“Student-athletes are the backbone of any athletic program and give so much of themselves and their talents to their schools,” Lawson wrote Pelosi. “As members of Congress, we must work to protect the interests of our students academically, medically and professionally.”

Lawson called on the proposed select committee to “focus on the ‘one-and-done’ rule, the definition of ‘amateur,’ and guaranteeing that student-athletes and former student-athletes have a path to completing their degrees.”

The North Florida Democrat weighed in on his letter to Pelosi on Friday. 

“College athletes and their families deserve respect and fair legislation that protect their rights,” Lawson said. “While there are many layers to the pressures and responsibilities student-athletes face, creating a select committee like this, with as many voices as possible, is the first step in truly supporting our young men and women.”

Last month, Lawson hosted a forum on the “State of the Black Student Athlete in America” during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s (CBCF) Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) in Washington DC. Lawson, who played and coached college basketball, hosted the forum to “examine the pressures and economic responsibilities black student athletes face, whether students are being prepared academically for life outside of sports, potential inequities between historically black institutions and other colleges, mental health awareness, the role of social activism and what happens after the game is over.

“College athletics is a multi-billion dollar business, and oftentimes, a black student-athletes as the face for an institution where he or she may not otherwise have access,” Lawson said when he announced the forum last month. “These young men and women are essential to the revenue generated by college athletic programs. That is why it is vital that we have conversations like these, with as many voices as possible – students, coaches, administrators, policymakers, if we truly want to see positive change.”

Back in April, Lawson hosted a panel discussion and screened a documentary on Capitol Hill which focused on “the plight of unpaid student-athletes in a multi-billion-dollar athletic enterprise.” 

Also that month, Lawson brought out  the “NCAA Act” which “would eliminate the ‘one and done’ rule, provide medical coverage for sports-related injuries, and create an easier process for student athletes to gain work opportunities while in school.” Lawson reeled in nine cosponsors including Democrat U.S. Reps. Alexandria Octavia-Cortez of New York, Ihan Omar of Minnesota,  Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida. Lawson’s proposal was sent to the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee where it has lingered since April. So far, there is no companion bill over in the U.S. Senate. 

Comments

Ub gibble gooble glub glub

You took the words right out of my mouth.

Fugeddaboudit! College athletes are ALREADY BEING PAID to ply their skills by receiving free rides at the schools they attend - with these free rides being worth some $70,000 per year in the majority of the instances. And - that value is double what the average American working person is earning - probably TRIPLE what the average working Floridian earns! Fugeddaboudit!

For the record, all scholarships are one year and must be renewed each year by the head coach of each sport. Add to that most students who are injured playing for a university can and often do lose their scholarship unless they are an elite athlete, So, the student must use their own insurance and if needed have long term disability insurance as well depending on the injury. In 2018 Florida State took in $39 million from football alone while the Gators pulled in $37 million, again just from their football team. When you factor in all of the athletics both schools topped the $55 million mark in revenue. Both ranked in the Top 10 in college sports programs with the Gators at No. 3 and FSU at No. 9. Protecting the students who play sports for the universities from being taken used and not well represented is not an un reasonable request. The state of California has allowed those top athletes in college to have endorsement deals with a cap on their earning so they can benefit on their worth. It is likely to be a trend. I have seen many athletes who are injured or not graduate from school after they helped their teams make National Championship runs. College sports is a big business and the kids playing for these schools have no protection. That is wrong.

The enumeration of clowns in the last paragraph means this guy is a joke.

Your clowns certainly DO NOT RISE to the level of the REAL clowns - Trump, Barr, and Giuliani - with local clown apprentices Gaetz, Steube, and DeSantis in the wings! Get a grip, Alice!

Ub gibble gooble glub glub

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