2014 President’s Message

gurney_headI am honored to lead The Drake Group as its president for this academic year. Its membership includes faculty and others dedicated to academic integrity and athlete welfare. This is an historic moment in collegiate sports reform. The O’Bannon anti-trust case, University of Miami enforcement scandal, the Northwestern athletes’ quest to unionize, the University of North Carolina academic scandal, and legislative measures such as the CAP Act—all of these developments have contributed to wide-ranging discussions about the future of college sport and whether revenue generating sport athletes receive the quality education they are promised.

Serious reform efforts are already underway in the areas of injury prevention, health care, and concussion treatment. Multiyear scholarships that extend to graduation and stipends that cover the full cost of attending college as defined by the Federal Government are no longer viewed as quixotic proposals. The Drake Group has been at the very center of this reform movement and has been especially effective in disclosing the academic fraud that has been spawned by commercialism and the athletic arms race.

It seems to me that some of the proposed changes, particularly among institutions at the most competitive levels (Big 5 Conferences) may not be for the collective benefit of college athletics or higher education as a whole. As such, it is an imperative that The Drake Group aggressively defend academic integrity at all NCAA institutions and insist that athletic programs be evaluated primarily by their contributions to athletes’ education and personal growth, not by their television ratings.

My goal is to represent The Drake Group membership and mission in future forums on college sports reform to the best of my ability. I look forward to hearing your comments and ideas as we approach these important changes. College sports will look very different in years to come. Let’s work together to shape it into a form that is compatible with the highest values of our nation’s colleges and universities.

Gerald Gurney
The Drake Group

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