banner
North Carolina

UNC's Ramsay: NCAA doesn't protect student-athletes

Posted July 9
Updated July 10

Devon Ramsay moves up field during the UNC vs. Florida State football game, Thursday, October 22, 2009 at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill.

Photo by Todd Melet

In a hearing Wednesday of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, former University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill football player Devon Ramsay detailed the experience that saw him lose then regain eligibility under suspicion of academic fraud. 

Ramsay was one of 14 UNC players held out of games during the 2010 season as the NCAA investigated the football program. He was ruled ineligible in November 2010 before being reinstated in February 2011. In its ruling reinstating Ramsay, the NCAA said he did not violate any rules.

"The NCAA as an institution no longer protects the student athlete," Ramsay said after a detailed account of his navigation, with little support, of the NCAA violation procedure. 

Eventually, former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Robert Orr took on Ramsay's case and helped him get reinstated. "It terrifies me," Ramsay said of student-athletes who lacked similar support.

In his introductory remarks, committee Chairman Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-WV, questioned the NCAA's commitment to amateurism, saying, "There is a growing perception that college athletics, particularly Division 1 football and basketball, are not an avocation at all ... It's about capturing the billions of dollars that these sports generate."

Ramsay was one of two former student-athletes on the panel, and he told senators that a key regret of his college career had been the inability to do an internship which would help him prepare for a post-football career.

"At a competitive football school, completing an internship is almost impossible," he said.

Guests at the hearing were NCAA President Mark Emmert, Richard Southall, associate professor of the Department of Sport and Entertainment and director of the University of South Carolina's College Sport Research Institute, author and historian Taylor Branch, Myron Laurent Rolle, a student at Florida State University College of Medicine, Rhodes Scholar and former FSU football player and William Bradshaw, former director of athletics at Temple University.

Southall agreed with Ramsay's take on the time constraints on college athletes, noting that advisers often steer athletes to courses and majors that balance with the need for travel, workouts and practices. "Athletes are physically and socially isolated from the institution," he said.

After each man gave a brief statement about his athletic history and experience with the NCAA, Rockefeller and the others on the committee honed in on Emmert.  

"I am just very skeptical that the NCAA can ever live up to the lofty mission that you talk about," Rockefeller told Emmert. "My cynical self says universities like things the way they are because they are making a ton of money."

Emmert outlined changes he wants to see in how student-athletes are treated, but conceded that his role as president wields no real power.

"The NCAA is a democratically-governed, membership-led organization," he said before listing six key reforms that the NCAA board is pushing. They are:

  • Offering a "scholarship for life," so that student-athletes can complete a bachelor's degree even after their eligibility runs out.
  • Offering scholarships to cover what Emmert described as the "full and actual cost of attendance, not simply tuition, room and board, books and supplies."
  • Leadership in the realm of health and safety.
  • Closing gaps in health insurance and injury coverage for student-athletes.
  • Sex assault prevention and support for victims.
  • Provide time and resources for athletes to take advantage of all opportunities on college campuses

Emmert concluded, saying that any changes must not come at cost to female athletes supported by Title IX and student-athletes in non-revenue sports.

The harshest criticism of the status quo came from Branch, who likened the NCAA and big-time college programs to "a distorted cartel."

"The NCAA and schools strip rights from athletes uniquely as a class. No freedom should be abridged because of athletic status," he said.

Emmert expressed confidence that changes he proposed would be widely adopted. He noted a recent rule change that allows universities to offer multi-year scholarships.

"College sports should be appropriately self-governed," Emmert said. "We're going to see whether that system works. I have confidence. This hearing is a useful cattle prod."

Rockefeller emphasized that questions about big-time college sports are not going away. "We have jurisdiction over sports, all sports," he said. "We have ability to subpoena. We're very into this subject."

66 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • JDT0827 Jul 11, 3:21 p.m.

    Not surprising that NCSU dolts focus on nothing this article illustrates, which we all know to be true, that the NCAA is more or less a worthless organization (unless revenue maximization really is supposed to be their primary focus) that certainly isn't there to protect student athletes. Wonder what the N&O will do when this investigation is over at UNC? Probably go back to trying to cover something positive about NCSU athletics from time to time, which is like picking peanuts out of poo historically.

  • modukev5saysbyebye Jul 10, 11:07 p.m.

    The NCAA is an embarrassment to all of humanity.

    — Posted by Winchester-.308

    It wasn't the NCAA that was promulgating those embarrassing no-show classes. Unc did it all by it's lonesome.

  • Winchester-.308 Jul 10, 11:00 p.m.

    The NCAA is an embarrassment to all of humanity.

  • vply2000 Jul 10, 10:04 p.m.

    Read Tarnished Heels and Weep.

  • vply2000 Jul 10, 8:42 p.m.

    "Of course WRalunc fails to mention this comment by Ramsay," UNC was more concerned in avoiding ncaa penalties and fines than helping me." greg barnes also says McCants didn't back up his accusations but in fact he did. He provided his transcript. Why would he want to talk to UNC after all they've done to run his name through the mud?
    Read more at http://www.wralsportsfan.com/unc-encouraging-everybody-to-talk/13801394/#MXmjXlibGDXFfuT0.99"

  • NothingButNet Jul 10, 7:30 p.m.

    Anyone that can read on an elementary school level can surely see that UNC-CH allows poor... View More

    — Posted by vt94hokies

    Hokie, not everyone comes here to brag about their education, nor do they care if others know... View More

    — Posted by Hammerhead

    Hammer, I haven't seen anyone here brag - or lie - about their education. The irony of all this... View More

    — Posted by NothingButNet

    Have you listened to any of ol' Roy's press conferences? Just askin'

    — Posted by modukev5saysbyebye

    Mo - I know you enjoy "sticking it" to Carolina - and Roy - but c'mon. Roy's worst goofs are more intelligent than anything that comes out of McCants' mouth. Roy may have hoof and mouth disease from time to time, but McCants doesn't have much of a brain.

  • ALLIN Jul 10, 5:24 p.m.

    NCAA doesn't protect student-athletes. You are over 18 and therefore an adult. If you need an apron string to hang on to stay with your momma. You poor kids and this pathetic generation of IT IS SOMEONE ELSES FAULT. This world will never survive or at least my way of life is doomed if I have to depend on the youth of today to sustain a free America.

  • modukev5saysbyebye Jul 10, 5:24 p.m.

    Hokie, not everyone comes here to brag about their education, nor do they care if others know... View More

    — Posted by Hammerhead

    Hammer, I haven't seen anyone here brag - or lie - about their education. The irony of all this... View More

    — Posted by NothingButNet

    Have you listened to any of ol' Roy's press conferences? Just askin'

    — Posted by modukev5saysbyebye

    Are we also going to hold it against Special Kay for saying "you know" over and over in his... View More

    — Posted by heelsforever

    I don't think you want to get into an IQ comparison contest between coach K and ol' huck.

    Might better stick with the McCants comparison. At least there huck has a fighting chance, anyway.

  • heelsforever Jul 10, 5:09 p.m.

    Anyone that can read on an elementary school level can surely see that UNC-CH allows poor... View More

    — Posted by vt94hokies

    Hokie, not everyone comes here to brag about their education, nor do they care if others know... View More

    — Posted by Hammerhead

    Hammer, I haven't seen anyone here brag - or lie - about their education. The irony of all this... View More

    — Posted by NothingButNet

    Have you listened to any of ol' Roy's press conferences? Just askin'

    — Posted by modukev5saysbyebye

    Are we also going to hold it against Special Kay for saying "you know" over and over in his press conferences?

  • Hammerhead Jul 10, 2:45 p.m.

    The biggest crock of all is the idea that the NCAA (or universities) aren't protecting... View More

    — Posted by cjw6105

    But the University is making money off of them. Just like the employer of every other working stiff.

More...

 

 

  • NFL: Detroit at Atlanta

    Today at 9:30 am on FOX50

  • NFL: Seattle at Carolina

    Today at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Indianapolis at Pittsburgh

    Today at 4:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • World Series: Kansas City at San Francisco

    Tonight at 7:30 on FOX50

  • NFL: Detroit at Atlanta

    Today at 9:30 am on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: Carolina Panthers vs. Seattle Seahawks

    Today at 1:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • World Series: Kansas City at San Francisco

    Tonight at 7:30 on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: Green Bay at New Orleans

    Tonight at 8:25 on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14
 
1:00pm Today
CAR
SEA
Final
SFG 11
KAN 4
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
 
Final
WISC 52
MD 7
Final
SMU 10
MEM 48
Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
Final
RICE 41
UNT 21
Final
NEB 42
RUTG 24
Final
KST 23
TEX 0
Final
ARK 45
UAB 17
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
EMICH 17
NILL 28
Final
NAVY 41
SJST 31
Final
BST 35
AKR 21
Final
GASTATE 31
GASO 69
Final
TOL 42
UMASS 35
Final
WMICH 42
OHIO 21
Final
COL 37
UCLA 40
Final
UMO 10
KSU 3
Final
WAKE 17
BC 23
Final
BUF 14
CMICH 20
Final
MARS 35
FATL 16
Final
PITT 28
GT 56
Final
SMISS 20
LATU 31
Final
MSU 35
MICH 11
Final
KENT 31
MSST 45
Final
STAN 38
ORST 14
Final
TCU 82
TTU 27
Final
OKST 10
WVU 34
Final
WKENT 66
ODU 51
Final
UTST 34
UNLV 20
Final
MIZZ 24
VANDY 14
Final
UCF 34
TEMPL 14
Final
WASU 37
ARZ 59
Final
CLEM 16
SYR 6
Final
LAMON 18
TXST 22
Final
TXSANANTO 0
UTEP 34
Final
COLST 45
WYO 31
Final
LSU 10
MISS 7
Final
TENN 20
ALA 34
Final
AUB 42
SCAR 35
Final
PSU 24
OSU 31
Final
UTAH 24
USC 21
Final
WASH 10
ARST 24
Final
HAW 18
NEV 26
 
Final
SJS 1
BUF 2
Final
TOR 1
BOS 4
Final
NYI 7
DAL 5
Final
PHI 4
DET 2
Final
OTT 2
NJD 3
Final
MON 3
NYR 1
Final
STL 3
CHI 2
Final
NAS 0
PIT 3
Final
MIN 7
TAM 2
Final
ARI 2
FLA 1
Final
CAL 1
WAS 3
3:00pm Today
WIN
COL
 
4:00pm Today
LOS
CLB
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
OTT
 
8:00pm Tonight
ANA
SJS
 
9:30pm Tonight
VAN
WAS
 
9:30am Today
ATL
DET
1:00pm Today
CIN
BAL
1:00pm Today
NYJ
BUF
1:00pm Today
NEP
CHI
1:00pm Today
TEN
HOU
1:00pm Today
JAC
MIA
1:00pm Today
TAM
MIN
1:00pm Today
CAR
SEA
1:00pm Today
KAN
STL
4:05pm Today
ARI
PHI
4:25pm Today
PIT
IND
4:25pm Today
CLE
OAK
8:30pm Tonight
NOS
GBP
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14