March Madness: 30 percent player turnover mars tourney teams

Original source: AFL-CIO Blog

This weekend, and for the next two of college basketball’s “March Madness,” tens of millions of TV viewers will be tuning into the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA’s) tournament.

They’ll be cheering for an alma mater, a local school or undersized underdog. But if you’re looking for that sophomore point guard who came off the bench last year for “State U” to sink the game-winning three-pointer, don’t be surprised if he’s not there, along with several of his teammates.

A new study by the National College Players Association (NCPA) shows the turnover rate for of players on four-year scholarships on this year’s tournament teams is nearly 30 percent. The study compared schools’ rosters for this season with the 2007-2008 season. The study excluded players who turned professional or were seniors.

The four-year scholarship most coaches and schools offer recruits and their parents is really a sleight of hand offer. NCAA rules don’t allow schools to offer more than a one-year deal—and that can be revoked at any time for any reason. But with a wink and nod, recruiters infer one year means four and renewal’s just a formality.

NCPA President Ramogi Huma says a college’s high turnover rates should be a ‘red flag to recruits and their parents. I would strongly urge all recruits to consider a school’s turnover rate as a factor when choosing a team to play for.

‘There are many reasons a player does not return to the team and none of them reflect well on the athletic program. Athletes may disappear as result of having their scholarships revoked, transfer to another school because expectations were not met.’

Since its inception in 2001 as an advocacy group for college athletes, the NCPA has pushed the NCAA to change its rules and allow schools to put their multiple-year scholarship promises in writing.

Says Huma: ‘How can the NCAA use its educational mission to justify its non-profit status when over 30 percent of players are falling off rosters at various schools around the nation?’

Working as the voice for college athletes, the NCPA has helped bring about a number of important reforms during the past several years, including:

*Establishment of a $10 million fund to assist former athletes who wish to complete their undergraduate degree or attend a graduate program.

* Elimination of limits on health care for college athletes.

* Increase in the NCAA death benefit from $10,000 to $25,000.

* Expansion of the NCAA Catastrophic Injury Insurance Policy so that college athletes who suffer permanent, debilitating injuries can receive adequate home health care.

* Implementation of key safety guidelines to help prevent deaths during workouts.

The United Steelworkers (USW) is supporting the NCPA and its mission, says USW President Leo Gerard: ‘The [USW] is committed to making sure college athletes across the nation have basic protections.’

For more on the NCPA’s mission, click here. Click here for a video with several former college athletes and others discussing why they are active and support the NCPA: