College Athlete Health and Protection from Physical and Psychological Harm
Following a comprehensive examination of the current state of college athlete health and safety protections, The Drake Group concluded that there is a systemic failure to protect the health, safety and well-being of college athletes that must be addressed. The Drake Group believes that coaches and athletics personnel, higher education institutions, and national athletic governance associations are not complying with their respective duties of care and must be held accountable.
The pressures to push athletes to training extremes in order to achieve team performance success and its commercial rewards are real. Too often fear of powerful coaches results in athletes and trainers not reporting abusive coaching and conditioning practices. When unsafe practices occur, institutions are more likely to act in ways that protect against litigation or damage to institutional reputation rather than acknowledging and remedying unsafe pedagogy. These pressures are simply too great for institutions to be expected to police themselves. The Drake Group believes that only the national governance organization has the power and leadership responsibility to offset these campus-level forces. Unfortunately, to date, the NCAA has not demonstrated a commitment to doing so. We hope this report represents a blueprint explaining why NCAA action is necessary and what those actions should be.