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Pregnant Student Athletes Losing Scholarships - Page 11

Poll Results: Should a female student athlete on an athletic scholarship lose her scholarship if she becomes pregnant and cannot perform as an athlete?

 
  • 75% (41)
    Yes
  • 24% (13)
    No
54 Total Votes  
post #181 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by bplewis24 View Post

So, I had to think long and hard about this.  My answer ends up being, “no they should not lose their scholarships, although their clock should keep running unless they have a redshirt year available.”  Allow me to explain (it is lengthy, I apologize):

Much of the reason for my deliberation of this is due to a lack of analogous events to compare it to.  Scholarship athletes are allowed to keep their scholarships despite not being able to perform for differing reasons all the time.  The problem is that none of those reasons approach the specific circumstances surrounding a pregnancy.   For example: many student-athletes have significant injuries that impact their ability to play for a season (sometimes more), but are allowed to keep their scholarships.  However, in the case of an on-field injury, the comparison fails because the student-athlete had no intention of getting injured and it cannot reasonably be argued that their willful negligence or behavior was cause for the injury.  On the opposite end, one could argue that a pregnancy is more analogous to a significant off-field injury resulting from a risky behavior (skiing, rock-climbing, off-road racing, etc).  The problem with this comparison is that we can’t really make assumptions about the risk-assessment and recklessness of sexual behavior without necessarily requiring somebody to find out the exact circumstances of the sexual encounter that resulted in the pregnancy (i.e., if protection was used, etc.).

What about a catch-all category of non-injury “life events”?  While I know of examples of athletes keeping their scholarships while going through things of this nature (e.g., a former teammate of mine who had a death in the immediate family, and another who had to take a year off after a tumor was found between his spinal cord and stomach), and I believe these examples are closer to a pregnancy consideration, they still lack the balance of a conscious, proactive action with a “life event” style result. 

Also, it occurs to me that there is a distinctly biological nature to this.  In other words, this can only happen to a woman.  And I do believe that it is within that context that the conversation should be driven.  This got me to thinking about the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993, so I decided to read up on it a bit.  In reading through the text of the act itself, these two provisions stood out to me:


http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/statutes/fmla.htm#SEC_2_FINDINGS_AND_PURPOSES

While discrimination isn’t a practical issue here, the social policy still resonates with me.  A man cannot go through this, so no considerations or analogies for male athletes are relevant.  In fact, the male athlete can go around having about as much sex as he wants, knowing this will never be his problem.  Therefore, the real question becomes, do we make special considerations for a woman’s unique biological nature?  In asking myself, “why shouldn’t we,” I can’t really think of any compelling reasons other than freeing up that scholarship for another female athlete (who can also get pregnant, by the way).  Considering that teams often have scholarships allocated to persons that cannot help them any given season, I don’t find this argument too persuasive.  Conversely, in asking myself “why should we,” I find that the social policy of the Family Medical Leave Act carries significant weight.

Tangentially, I’d like to point out that I believe there may be Title IX implications here to consider.  I haven’t read the full text of it, and while I do wish the title would be amended or eradicated (that’s another topic), it’s probably not going anywhere, ever.  However, if it did, I could see women’s programs being at risk of being marginalized if women are summarily dismissed from their scholarships due to pregnancy.

Another point I’d like to make is that, regardless of what it feels like, the NCAA and its member schools that hand out scholarships go to great lengths to affirm that scholarship athletes are Students first, with a primary obligation to be on a track to graduate in order to remain eligible.  My feeling is that if academic standing is the primary concern regarding athletic eligibility, then it, too, should be the primary concern for retaining the scholarship (which it already is).  If the pregnant athlete plans to continue their academic pursuits (and I’m writing this under the assumption that they are), then I believe that should be good enough.

Lastly, as to why I believe their athletic “clock” should keep ticking during pregnancy, I believe it sufficiently deters the student-athlete from getting pregnant in the first place, knowing they can lose a year of eligibility they will never get back.  This may incentivize the recruiting school to prioritize disciplined and focused athletes to the extent that they don’t already, since the school potentially loses a year of eligibility from an All-American caliber athlete.

And for anybody who made it this far, thanks for reading. a1_smile.gif  

All that and you still miss the point. a1_smile.gif

The woman isn't losing her scholarship because she's pregnant. She's losing it because she's unable to fulfill her contractual obligation to participate in her sport as a direct result of her decision to engage in an activity that she knew could jeopardize her ability to compete.

The same standard should be applied to similar circumstances for all athletes, male or female.
Edited by David in FL - 1/22/14 at 6:53pm
post #182 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post


All that and you still miss the point. a1_smile.gif

The woman isn't losing her scholarship because she's pregnant. She's losing it because she's unable to fulfill her contractual obligation to participate in her sport as a direct result of her decision to engage in an activity that she knew could jeopardize her ability to compete.

The same standard should be applied to similar circumstances for all athletes, male or female.

 

Not sure why you'd say I missed the point, when it was specifically addressed (by the examples of decisions by other athletes which jeopardize their ability to compete not resulting in a loss of scholarship) as well as the reasons in the Family Medical Leave Act (demonstrating the nature of the burden of this particular decision only being carried by the woman).  

 

You don't have to agree with it--and you can make a persuasive argument against my logic--but the point isn't lost on me.

post #183 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by bplewis24 View Post

Not sure why you'd say I missed the point, when it was specifically addressed (by the examples of decisions by other athletes which jeopardize their ability to compete not resulting in a loss of scholarship) as well as the reasons in the Family Medical Leave Act (demonstrating the nature of the burden of this particular decision only being carried by the woman).  

You don't have to agree with it--and you can make a persuasive argument against my logic--but the point isn't lost on me.

FMLA does not require that an employer compensate the employee while they are on leave. Moreover, it is limited to 12 weeks of protected leave.

It's also worth noting that men are also entitled to maternity leave under FMLA.
post #184 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post

All that and you still miss the point. a1_smile.gif

The woman isn't losing her scholarship because she's pregnant. She's losing it because she's unable to fulfill her contractual obligation to participate in her sport as a direct result of her decision to engage in an activity that she knew could jeopardize her ability to compete.

The same standard should be applied to similar circumstances for all athletes, male or female.

 

And that is it in a nutshell.  She made a risky choice and lost.  Sorry if some of you think that another deserving athlete should be left out despite another person's poor decision.  I have more sympathy for the woman who is willing to abide by the terms of her agreement, but who is being left out in favor of one who isn't.  Pregnancy isn't an accident, it's negligence.

post #185 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post


FMLA does not require that an employer compensate the employee while they are on leave. Moreover, it is limited to 12 weeks of protected leave.

It's also worth noting that men are also entitled to maternity leave under FMLA.

 

Both good points.  The first one is one of the reasons why I believe the scholarship athlete's clock should continue to tick.

 

The FMLA is not a perfect, direct analogy.  But it is increasingly persuasive for me because it's essentially the only precedent that addresses the biological nature of the pregnancy burden and it's impact on gender equality in the workplace.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post
 

 Pregnancy isn't an accident, it's negligence.

 

That is fundamentally untrue.  The only 100% full-proof birth-control is abstinence.  And there are only a handful of places where sex is specifically prohibited for these folks.  If a lady can use birth control, have the consenting male use a condom, and still get pregnant, would you still call that negligence?  What if she wasn't taking birth control but the guy was wearing a condom?  Where do you draw the line?  Because if you say it's negligence no matter what, you're essentially prohibiting the act for females where there is no prohibition.

 

On the other point, it should be noted that the "other deserving athlete" point is only relevant to the extent that the university can find another scholarship athlete to fill the role during the window which the pregnant athlete is out of commission.  In a good percentage of cases (if not most) that would be unlikely.  Also, the fact that the woman bears 100% of the risk under your argument is necessarily discriminatory by gender (which is the point of the FMLA).

post #186 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by bplewis24 View Post
 

 

On the other point, it should be noted that the "other deserving athlete" point is only relevant to the extent that the university can find another scholarship athlete to fill the role during the window which the pregnant athlete is out of commission.  In a good percentage of cases (if not most) that would be unlikely.

This is a really good point that I don't believe has been brought up yet.  If there is nobody else to give the scholarship to, then its not really costing the school anything to allow her to keep it.  Further, the "punishment" you suggested - of keeping the eligibility clock ticking - is probably sufficient enough of a deterrent for most athletes to take risks.

post #187 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

This is a really good point that I don't believe has been brought up yet.  If there is nobody else to give the scholarship to, then its not really costing the school anything to allow her to keep it.  Further, the "punishment" you suggested - of keeping the eligibility clock ticking - is probably sufficient enough of a deterrent for most athletes to take risks.

If the school "allows her to keep it", the school is providing her a free college education. Do you really believe there is no "cost" in doing so?
post #188 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post


If the school "allows her to keep it", the school is providing her a free college education. Do you really believe there is no "cost" in doing so?

Yes. ;-) 

post #189 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

Yes. a2_wink.gif  

You're messin' with me, right?
post #190 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post


You're messin' with me, right?

No.  What does it cost them if they don't have anybody to give the scholarship to?  All of the classes she's taking have a bunch of other students in them, no?  If she suddenly disappears from those classes, do the teachers stop lecturing?  Do their office hours shorten?  Obviously, collectively, college is expensive, but it doesn't seem to me like the presence or absence of one student is going to change things.

 

Heck, we've already established that women's sports COST schools money, so her not being able to participate might even SAVE the school some money if they get to pay for fewer meals and lodging on road trips.

 

I could be wrong, of course, but this is what it seems like to me.

post #191 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

No.  What does it cost them if they don't have anybody to give the scholarship to?  All of the classes she's taking have a bunch of other students in them, no?  If she suddenly disappears from those classes, do the teachers stop lecturing?  Do their office hours shorten?  Obviously, collectively, college is expensive, but it doesn't seem to me like the presence or absence of one student is going to change things.

 

Heck, we've already established that women's sports COST schools money, so her not being able to participate might even SAVE the school some money if they get to pay for fewer meals and lodging on road trips.

 

I could be wrong, of course, but this is what it seems like to me.


Books, housing, meals, and lab supplies don't cost anything? They certainly did for me when I went back to school. I went into sticker shock with the cost of some of those books.

post #192 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by MS256 View Post
 


Books, housing, meals, and lab supplies don't cost anything? They certainly did for me when I went back to school. I went into sticker shock with the cost of some of those books.

Yeah ... I'm really not explaining myself very well, but I promise you, it makes sense in my head! :beer:

 

Here, I'll try again.  We're talking about a bunch of things that the school has already allocated for somebody, and they don't have anybody else to give them to.  So whether or not she plays her sport, it doesn't cost them a different amount of money.

post #193 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

No.  What does it cost them if they don't have anybody to give the scholarship to?  All of the classes she's taking have a bunch of other students in them, no?  If she suddenly disappears from those classes, do the teachers stop lecturing?  Do their office hours shorten?  Obviously, collectively, college is expensive, but it doesn't seem to me like the presence or absence of one student is going to change things.

 

Heck, we've already established that women's sports COST schools money, so her not being able to participate might even SAVE the school some money if they get to pay for fewer meals and lodging on road trips.

 

I could be wrong, of course, but this is what it seems like to me.

This was my initial thought on this whole topic. It doesn't cost the school the manufacturers suggested list price of lets say $40K to have a student attend classes. I have owned businesses for over 25 years and can tell you the actual cost for keeping the girls scholarship during the pregnancy would be minimal.  It seems like the folks supporting taking away the scholarship are doing it as punishment for having premarital sex. They will say I "missed the point" and will bring out the "she broke her contract line" in about 5 minutes. But the tone of "She got herself KNOCKED UP and deserves her fate" says it all.

post #194 of 229
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by club ho View Post

It seems like the folks supporting taking away the scholarship are doing it as punishment for having premarital sex.

It's not punishment. It's a contract and if broken because the athlete is unable to perform athletically it's the normal expected outcome.

Also this is not about premarital sex. It's about getting pregnant.
post #195 of 229

I've read through the last few pages of this discussion so excuse me if this has already been raised. I understand we're specifically talking about college athletes but, what if the same happened to a professional athlete?  The women on the LPGA tour that have promotional contracts, or NCAA players.  If they get pregnant and can no longer fulfill their contracts for a time should they loose theirs?  I feel that it's the same question for either, because the result is the same.

post #196 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

No.  What does it cost them if they don't have anybody to give the scholarship to?  All of the classes she's taking have a bunch of other students in them, no?  If she suddenly disappears from those classes, do the teachers stop lecturing?  Do their office hours shorten?  Obviously, collectively, college is expensive, but it doesn't seem to me like the presence or absence of one student is going to change things.

 

Heck, we've already established that women's sports COST schools money, so her not being able to participate might even SAVE the school some money if they get to pay for fewer meals and lodging on road trips.

 

I could be wrong, of course, but this is what it seems like to me.

 

Yes they cost money to run, but as you say the sport isn't shutting down because she isn't there. So it doesn't save the school money because the scholarship would either still be hers or go to someone else.

 

Here is the thing, its always like, "Well it isn't that much to help one person." Well isn't that just a snow ball effect. You let one girl have this. Or you mandate they can keep it, then suddenly everyone with any sort of condition is going to demand they keep their scholarship. 

 

Also, legally the school probably can't let her keep it. There is probably lines in the scholarship pertaining to performance. Here's the thing, even if the school wanted to let her keep it. The next girl up for the scholarship can sue the school. It isn't just the girl under contract, the school has to abide by it as well, even the parts were they have to assess if the girl can play the sport. 

 

The only way around this would be if the school was able to medical red shirt the girl if she didn't play her freshman year. This way she would maintain a year of eligibility. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by club ho View Post
 

This was my initial thought on this whole topic. It doesn't cost the school the manufacturers suggested list price of lets say $40K to have a student attend classes. I have owned businesses for over 25 years and can tell you the actual cost for keeping the girls scholarship during the pregnancy would be minimal.  It seems like the folks supporting taking away the scholarship are doing it as punishment for having premarital sex. They will say I "missed the point" and will bring out the "she broke her contract line" in about 5 minutes. But the tone of "She got herself KNOCKED UP and deserves her fate" says it all.

 

Well she does deserve her fate. Its called accepting responsibility and reality. The school owes the students nothing. Unless you are a college football or basketball player the athlete is pretty much costing the school money. Most schools run in the red for their sports programs.

post #197 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

Yeah ... I'm really not explaining myself very well, but I promise you, it makes sense in my head! :beer:

 

Here, I'll try again.  We're talking about a bunch of things that the school has already allocated for somebody, and they don't have anybody else to give them to.  So whether or not she plays her sport, it doesn't cost them a different amount of money.

 

I didn't respond last night because I was so shocked at your statement that I didn't want to come across as condescending to someone whose arguments are generally well reasoned and whose opinion I respect.  I'm glad, because now we just have to discuss that just because there's no incremental expense to the school, the fact remains that they're still paying her for not performing the service for which she contracted.  Those expenses were allocated to her, in exchange for compensation in the form of something the college finds to be of value.  That compensation is no longer a part of the equation, so all that remains is the expense.

 

......Let's take it one step further.  Should all women who become pregnant be given an instant full ride?  By this argument, the expenses associated with their education have already been allocated to them, so it's not going to cost the school anything "extra" to allow them to remain either.

 

The problem here is that some people are not recognizing that the individual on athletic scholarship is paying for her schooling.  She's simply paying with something other than money which the school finds to be of equal value.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by club ho View Post
 

This was my initial thought on this whole topic. It doesn't cost the school the manufacturers suggested list price of lets say $40K to have a student attend classes. I have owned businesses for over 25 years and can tell you the actual cost for keeping the girls scholarship during the pregnancy would be minimal.  It seems like the folks supporting taking away the scholarship are doing it as punishment for having premarital sex. They will say I "missed the point" and will bring out the "she broke her contract line" in about 5 minutes. But the tone of "She got herself KNOCKED UP and deserves her fate" says it all.

 

Interestingly, you're the only person I've seen use the term "knocked up" in this thread.  I may have missed one, but even so, it hasn't been prevalent.  You are right though, the actual $'s aren't the core issue.  Just as they aren't when someone steals a $5 item from Walmart.  Stealing is wrong.  Walmart will prosecute, and they should, even though that $5 doesn't even amount to a drop in the bucket to them.....and of course, the cost to replace that candy bar is far less than $5 too.

 

At the core of this issue is the concept of personal responsibility.  I contend that when an individual makes decisions and takes action, they should be held accountable for the consequences of their actions.  That others should not have to bear the burden of those actions, even if the cost is just that of a $5 candy bar.  I also believe in equity......just as in golf, in life, people who find themselves in like situations should be treated in the same manner to the extent possible.  Unless you're also going to advocate that all women who become pregnant while in school should have their schooling paid for, you're advocating special consideration for this one sub-category of pregnant student, over all the others.

post #198 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by club ho View Post


As I said, I may have missed one......in 200 posts.


Is that your only response to my last post? I'm really curious how you feel on the whole "personal responsibility" issue in general and also whether, in equity, all pregnant women should receive a free ride.
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