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.