RECOGNIZING THE WORK OF DR. FRANK SPLITT
(Extensions of Remarks - March 17, 2005)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E483-E484]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                RECOGNIZING THE WORK OF DR. FRANK SPLITT

                                 ______
                                 

                       HON. JANICE D. SCHAKOWSKY

                              of illinois

                    in the house of representatives

                        Thursday, March 17, 2005

  Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to call attention to the 
work of Dr. Frank Splitt, a McCormick Faculty Fellow at Northwestern 
University. As a member of The Drake Group, Dr. Splitt has worked to 
bring attention to the need for reform in college athletics. I would 
like to submit this article, ``Why Congress Should Review Policies that 
Facilitate the Growth and Corruption of Big-Time College Sports'' for 
the review of my colleagues. I hope that during this session of 
Congress we can begin to work to improve the system for the sake of our 
athletes, teachers, fans, and entire educational system.
  ``Why Congress Should Review Policies that Facilitate the Growth and 
Corruption of Big-Time College Sports'' by Dr. Frank Splitt
  Despite many wakeup calls and warnings over the years, the situation 
with big-time college sports is much worse than many could ever have 
imagined. Two questions loom large: What's going on? And, where are the 
people who are willing to speak the truth about the academic corruption 
spawned by the college-sports entertainment colossus and to do 
something about it? To find the answer to the first question, one need 
only look at the usual suspect--money. Big money, together with greed, 
avid sports fans, an apathetic public, and governmental policies make 
college sports a lucrative and growing tax-free business enterprise. 
Key enablers for the continuing growth of this business are higher 
education professionals in a state of denial over the unflattering 
reality of academic corruption, a relatively ineffectual NCAA, and 
facilitating government policies involving privacy law and the subsidy 
of athletic departments and favorable tax treatment of related 
projects.
  The Drake Group (TDG), a grass-roots faculty organization, provides a 
partial answer to the second question. It works on the premise that 
college sports aren't themselves evil, but rather, it's the related 
academic corruption that should be exposed and eliminated. TDG has 
sponsored the publication of two papers on college-sports reform, 
``Reclaiming Academic Primacy in Higher Education,'' and a sequel, 
``The Faculty-Driven Movement to Reform 
Big-Time College Sports,'' see www.ece.northwestern.edu/EXTERNAL/
Splitt/. The first paper served as another wakeup call to university 
presidents, trustees, administrators and faculties. The sequel focused 
on a TDG initiative to help restore academic integrity by working to 
change the Family Educational Rights and Privacy of 1974 (FERPA)--also 
known as the Buckley Amendment.
  As an unintended consequence of the Buckley Amendment, evidence of 
academic corruption and shenanigans in big-time college sports are 
hidden from real public scrutiny and the NCAA and schools (via waivers) 
can exploit and control their athletes while only releasing news 
favorable to themselves.

[[Page E484]]

  In their Wisconsin Law Review article, ``Cleaning Up Buckley: How The 
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Shields Academic Corruption 
In College Athletics,'' Matthew Salzwedel and Jon Ericson make a 
compelling case for simple changes that would permit an appropriate 
level of disclosure. It is my view that those changes would lead to 
exposure of institutional misbehavior via publication of information 
about the academic courses that athletes take, as well as their choice 
of professors and academic majors. Over time, that disclosure would 
work to ensure that college athletes are getting a legitimate college 
education.
  Changes to the Buckley Amendment require governmental intervention. 
TDG made a formal request for a review of the amendment to LeRoy S. 
Rooker, Director of the U.S. Department of Education Family Policy 
Compliance Office. In his response, Director Rooker stated that TDG's 
concerns were largely those that can only be addressed by Congress. 
Follow up with the chairs of the appropriate Congressional Committees 
has been initiated by TDG.
  It should be clear that, no matter how bad college sports related 
scandals may become, how appropriate any one of a number of reform 
measures may be, or, how intense the urging of the Knight Commission, 
there is little likelihood that these kinds of measures would be 
adopted on a voluntary basis. The reason is simple: Universal adoption 
would likely prove to be successful in curbing the rampant excesses of 
the college sports and level the playing field, but put at risk the 
big, tax-free money flow into the NCAA cartel. Substantive reform 
measures all seem to make sense to the reform minded, but not to those 
that are to be reformed--setting the stage for endless debate. Nothing 
of consequence happens.
  The NCAA's proposed reforms in the wake of the University of 
Colorado-Boulder recruiting scandal came under critical review at a 
House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on May 18, 2004. That hearing, 
titled ``Supporting Our Intercollegiate Student-Athletes: Proposed NCAA 
Reforms'' was called to examine the NCAA response to the recruiting 
practices and polices of intercollegiate athletics. The Subcommittee 
expressed concern that some of the NCAA's new proposals don't go far 
enough and mentioned a possible motivational tool for Congress to get 
what it wants: the tax-exempt status of NCAA programs. Those remarks 
spawn hope that the NCAA and its members will be forced to pay serious 
attention to reform and enforcement as well as tell the truth about 
their financial operations.
  With a public now fatigued with terrorist related threats and numbed 
by grievous wrongdoing, scandals, and cover ups in their financial and 
political worlds, the challenge for Congress is to take on the tasks of 
working for disclosure via ``cleaning up Buckley''--penetrating the 
closed society of higher education and its ``See no evil, Speak no 
evil, Hear no evil,'' modus operandi--and calling for an IRS audit of 
the NCAA cartel. When buttressed by compelling arguments for reform and 
intensive scrutiny by the media, these efforts can surmount the 
formidable barriers that have thus far shielded intercollegiate 
athletics from serious reform.

                          ____________________