TDG Presidents Meet with Ralph Nader to Discuss College Sports

Drake Group officers Jason Lanter, Kadie Otto, and Allen Sack met with consumer advocate Ralph Nader last summer to discuss Nader’s proposal to replace athletic scholarships with need-based financial aid in college sports. According Lanter, the immediate past president of The Drake Group, “Nader’s defense of need-based aid for athletes in big-time college sports places him at the head of the class as a defender of academic integrity in collegiate sport and of time-honored amateur principles the NCAA claims to defend.”

Drake Group President Allen Sack says that “given America’s love affair with big-time college sports, it is hard to conceive how Ralph Nader, no matter how well-intentioned, will convert athletic programs such as those in the Football Bowl Subdivision over to the Division III, non-scholarship model.” A plausible alternative, and one supported by the Drake Group, is to focus resources on restoring multi-year athletic scholarships that cannot be reduced or canceled because of injury or insufficient athletic ability.

Ralph Nader’s proposal for replacing athletic scholarships with need-based financial aid is unlikely to gain support among athletes who feel financially exploited in the current system or women who have only recently gotten a seat at the scholarship table. If Nader and his League of Fans would extend their proposal to include multi-year scholarships—this is a real possibility—it  would allow them to embrace the multiyear scholarship proposal the NCAA has recently passed, as well as need-based aid in schools that view that as the best alternative. According to Sack, talks between the Drake Group and the League of Fans are ongoing on a number of fronts.

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